Doctor of Mathematics Yelena Yarmak once made an unpleasant discovery. She realised that she did not have anything to wear. She and her husband had just moved to Moscow from Kiev and Yelena could not find a job. Her husband was also a scientist and on his salary she obviously could not change the wardrobe on a whim. This was the defining moment for Yelena. She left the scientific field of economic modelling to step on a tricky path of fantasy. She became a fashion designer, specifically of fur clothes. By the 1990s, the name "Helen Yarmak" longer had any associations with maths. The name now belonged to a talented and daring designer and from 1992, a world-famous furs tycoon.
Her imagination knew no bounds, reaching Europe and the Americas, where it started to shatter all the established ideas about materials for fine clothing, thereby giving foreigners another reason to admire the paradoxical nature of Russian soul.
Mrs. Yarmak uses the latest technologies in combination with traditional Russian styles. Heavy Russian furs from Siberia when used by the owner of a new fur empire - Yarmak - seem lighter than a feather. The gold trimming used by the designer sometimes takes the texture of brocade, and sometimes of an old coin covered with patina.
Hollywood stars hunt for "transformer clothes" from Yelena Yarmak. These clothes can be worn with the fur turned inside out or vice versa. Since 1999, shops and show-rooms in the Crown Building on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in New York, where "Helen Yarmak boutiques serve the public, have been frequented by David Copperfield, Jim Carrey, Melanie Griffith and Goldie Hawn. Even the great Luciano Pavarotti has paid tribute to Yarmak's talent. A Helen Yarmak boutique has opened in Zurich, as well.
In Moscow, Helen Yarmak boutiques can be found in the most prestigious and expensive shopping centres, for example, in Okhotny Ryad on Manezhnaya Square near the Kremlin, on the third, "exclusive" floor of the "Actor" gallery (Tverskaya street), and in Petrovski Passage on Petrovka Street in the very heart of the capital. From the moment they opened, famous Russians (long-time popular singer Alla Pugachova or ballet prima donna Anastasia Volochkova, for example) started to beat at the doors of the show-rooms belonging to the Helen Yarmak Fashion House.
When Moscow hosts Helen Yarmak's fashion shows, many well-known actors, singers, politicians and TV presenters attend the events. The Helen Yarmak House sells successfully not only furs, but also all sorts of accessories and jewellery designed by the head of the empire.
Her imagination continues to fly. She does not recognise any taboos in the domain of high fashion. In an attempt to make the world look brighter, she has dressed celebrities in furs of different colours - pink, green, yellow - and made elegant clothes of a special cut, enhancing the natural beauty of women from any age group. Her credo is to reveal the inner world of her contemporaries, to accentuate female beauty.
"Any success is the product of hard work. It is important to love what you do. It feels great when you realise that your hobby is your job," says Yelena Yarmak. It is worth adding that her job has become very successful. During the Business Women Network Summit in Washington in 2000, Mrs. Yarmak received the "Outstanding Business Woman of the Year" award. Yelena is a member of the French Academy of Architecture and Design, while her name is also in the "Famous Russian Women" encyclopaedia.
Now, what about science? Has she abandoned this field completely? Not at all. She continues to be on good terms with science. The New York Academy of Sciences, as well as the International Academy of Informatisation attached to the UN, have both elected her as a member. As for Yelena, she remains a mathematician at heart. At least, her "feel for furs," especially for the cut, is purely mathematical. Moreover, imagination is also a sort of science, albeit more daring and full of paradoxes.
Olga Sobolevskaya, RIAN