WA celeb designers to close TPFF
Lara Kovacevich and Lydia Tsvetnenko of fashion label Zhivago. Picture: Iain Gillespie

With national shows at prestigious fashion weeks, a handful of top celebrity clients and orders running out the door as fast as they can fill them, it's safe to say that 2014 is shaping up to be one of the best years in Lara Kovacevic and Lydia Tsvetnenko's careers to date.

But it gets even better for the WA designer duo behind Zhivago, with news the edgy label has been hand-picked to close the 16th annual Telstra Perth Fashion Festival in September.

Fresh from making an acclaimed national solo debut at Australia's biggest fashion event, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, earlier this year, the friends turned down an opportunity to make their first international appearance at New York fashion week so they could instead focus on wowing a local crowd with their latest collection, Equilibrium, at the festival.

With the label expanding at an unprecedented rate, Kovacevic told AAA it was important for them to remain true to their roots and return to the event that first launched their brand.

"We appreciate our Perth stores and Perth clients who have supported us from the start so it's amazing to be able to bring (the collection) back here, particularly because it was so well received in Sydney," she said.

Samantha Jade at the ARIA Awards in Zhivago. Picture: Getty Images

Tsvetnenko added it was tempting to take Zhivago to the international stage but, less than three years after launching, they did not want to expand too quickly.

"You get really excited when you have these celebrities wearing the clothes," she said. "The invitations are there and it's so appealing but we need to focus on Australia."

However, the women are still making waves on the global radar while based in their home town, with showbiz names such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Dannii Minogue and Samantha Jade all donning their signature high-octane garments in the past year.

Most recently, the Zhivago name created a buzz when US reality starlet Kendall Jenner wore pieces from their latest collection for a TV presenting gig - a moment that Kovacevic described as "surreal".

"We didn't even know it had gone to her," the designer laughed.

"We don't pay anyone to wear our clothes so when they choose to wear us over all the major fashion labels in the world, it's a great compliment."

Kendall Jenner, left, in Zhivago. Picture: Supplied

While the fashion stars hinted some of their celebrity clients had already expressed interest at flying out for their TPFF show, they say they are instead putting their energy into making the catwalk component of the event as memorable as possible.

"Our focus is on making the show amazing," Tsvetnenko said. "If they want to come that's great but the focus is on the clothes."

Zhivago will close Telstra Perth Fashion Festival on September 22 at Fashion Paramount at Perth Concert Hall - the same week their Equilibrium collection will appear in stores around the country.

The West Australian

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