Soviet fashion model Leka Mironova
Soviet fashion model Leka Mironova (full name – Leocadia Mironova) – one of the most famous models of 1960-70s USSR. Like most of models of the time, to the Fashion House on Kuznetsky Most, she came by chance to support a girlfriend, a novice fashion designer Vyacheslav Zaitsev saw her. He immediately offered her to work with him. Leka has just graduated from high school. She studied ballet, but had to leave dancing because of illness of feet. She wanted to enter the faculty of architecture, but also failed because of vision problems. And she agreed to try herself as a fashion model. Leka became known abroad and was called “Russian Audrey Hepburn” for the resemblance to the great actress. After shooting in the American film “The Soviet Union Stars” (one of them, by the way, was Maya Plisetskaya), Leka was invited to a parade of top fashion models in the world.
Unlike Regina Zbarskaya, Mila Romanovskaya and other famous Soviet models, Leka Mironova was restricted to travel abroad because of her origin. Her parents, theatrical figures, were descendants of noble families.
Personal life of Leka Mironova was not a success – beauty ensures the attention of men, but not women’s happiness. She was married to a television director, but broke up with her husband, when the mother was seriously ill and she had to take care of her. Between her mother and her husband, she chose her mother.
But there was a great love in her life – a photographer from Lithuania named Antanas. They fell in love at first sight. Their affair lasted two years, but the Baltic nationalists seriously threatened Antanas. Leka was afraid for his life and chose to leave him. But she loved him all her life, left alone and without children. After him she never married.
No matter how many difficulties Leka has had in her life, she always met them with intrinsic value and never lose heart. No matter how hard, she appears on the catwalk with smiles and keeps her back straight. Always. Even today, as she still appears on the catwalks at shows of Slava Zaitsev.
I was born in Frunze and raised in the Theater of Opera and Ballet, where my uncle was the conductor. Loved classical music, knew by heart many opera roles and a childhood dream was to become an opera singer, or a ballerina. I had perfect voice, very clear and high, but it so happened that I damaged vocal cords and had to forget about the dream to become a singer. With the ballet – I studied in the Vaganova School, my teacher was a prominent ballerina Natalia Dudintseva. But due to the fact that my childhood was on the war time, and we ate very poorly, I have suffered of developed osteoporosis, and could not do the choreography, because of terrible pain. So, I had to forget about that childhood dream too.
But fate decided for me. My height 175 cm and the parameters of 90-60-90 – not the Soviet standard of beauty. Soviet mannequin should be closer to the people – lower and broader. So, I did not fit. But Slava Zaitsev saw me and threw up his hands: “What a girl!” And five minutes later he took me by the arm and pulled into his office to the authorities: “I want her to work with me!”. And from that day began our teamwork. I was the first model of Slava Zaitsev.
With Slava I was ready to go to the end of the world. We were together so much time that we were often mistaken for the husband and wife. I lived in the suburbs, and Slava offered me to stay at his place. He lived with his wife Marina (she was a remarkable artist, worked in the circus) and son Yegor, who has just turned two years old, at the metro station “Airport”, in a small apartment on the ground floor, while in the same house, only a few floors above lived Slava’s mother-in-law, at whom I sometimes stayed, too. So I was like a family member.
… In 1963, at the sports complex “Wings of the Soviets” was held all-Union methodical meeting – fashion houses from all over the Soviet Union showed their work, and Slava Zaitsev, presented his first collection. The show was attended by not only Soviet, but also foreign journalists. After this show to our little lab went caravan of journalists, and we with Slava kept shooting. With our pictures came out one magazine after another.
A year later, we were invited to the All-Union House of models of clothes on Kuznetsky Most. What a parade of beautiful women there was! Regina Zbarskaya reigned in the House of models. I remember when we are faced with Regina for the first time. She looked indulgently at me. Her name is already known to the whole country, and who am I? Regina represented our country abroad, that says it all. But the best avant-garde fashion designer Slava Zaitsev did collection basically just for me and this added fuel to the fire. She gradually began to hate me.
To buy clothes for me in the store was a big problem – I was very thin, 51 kilograms with the growth of 178. So I came up to dress in the “Children’s World.” I’m used to the fact that I had to redo what I bought in the store. Fortunately I had such a talent. I did not only dress and sewed costumes myself. What beautiful ornaments I created from the treasure that I found in a discount store! Removed cheap stones, replaced them with jade, coral, gave the desired shape. Slava Zaitsev appreciated what I invented very much. He said that I was a born artist.
My pictures were across the Soviet Union – in all the cities and towns. Only one fact: my photo in full growth decorated the center of GUM – the fountain, in the jewelry section. 80 Percent of all photos on the windows of the country – was my image.
I had a few love affairs. For some time I met with the son of the Soviet composer Mark Fradkin, German. German was a documentary filmmaker. Charming guy, delicate, well-mannered. House of Fradkin was next to the garden “Hermitage”, we have often been there. His home gathered very interesting company. Mark Fradkin, father of German, toured a lot and was rarely at home. German
was very caring, friendly, but pretty soon began to talk twhat we need to formalize the relationship. But I was not ready, so we broke up.
Then I had a relationship with Pavel Pozner, brother of Vladimir Pozner. Pavel came up to me after some of the shows, so we met. Paul soon invited me to his home and presented to parents. Pavel had a lovely mother, a Frenchwoman, and imposing intelligent dad. We often went to the premiere at the House of Composers. And everything was fine exactly to the moment, when started the conversation about plans for the future. I just was not ready to start a family.
Once to the show came a young man. With long hair and a gray suit. He was a photographer and filmed the show. All the time he was in the hall, I felt that I pose to him. Tall blond came over and, though we were four, started to talk only with me, the other girls did not seem to exist. The young man took us to the hotel and invited to a night bar. There, he again did not depart from me. And so it went the entire week that we were in Vilnius. It seemed to me that in those seven days I did not sleep at all, we with Antanas – that was his name – went to museums, walking endlessly, drank coffee.
And then for the next two years and a half in the morning he flew from Moscow to Vilnius, and returned in the evening. He literally got sick of me. Once Antanas came to me in Moscow with a bandaged hand. I ask: “What’s the matter” He said somebody attacked him with a knife, when he was walking out of his apartment, in the dark stairwell. The fact that on his hands were motorcycle gloves saved him. The wound was not deep. The attacker then told directly: “If you do not stop to date with this Russian, you will greatly regret. We will kill your mother and sister.”
It became clear that, despite the fact that we can’t live one without the other, and the separation will cause physical pain, I had to let him go. Later I learned that he wanted to commit suicide, he was taken out of the loop. My heart bled, but the relations were impossible.
… You know, even in the darkest days, when it seemed that I had no forces to go on the podium, I rose and went. Smiling. And nobody knew how things really were. So it is in life. No matter how hasrd, it is necessary to get up and go forward. And do not give up. Never…
Soviet fashion model Leka Mironova
Based on the interview of Soviet fashion model Leka Mironova to magazine 7 Days. Caravan of stories. Website http://7days.ru/caravan/