Vlada Roslyakova

While the main attraction during the international fashion weeks takes place on the catwalk, it's always thrilling to see the behind-the-scenes action transpire. Each season, after we have dissected the collections, we willingly trawl through literally thousands of images just to get a peek at the off-duty looks of some of our favourite mannequins. Recently, we've been drawn to one girl in particular: Vlada Roslyakova. Though her piercing blue eyes and delicate features are striking to be sure, it's her singular sense of style that is most refreshing. While some models seem to just throw on clothes, we love that Roslyakova seems to have a real joie de vivre when it comes to dressing. Each image imparts her preference for texture, colour, and predilection for sophisticated basics with a twist. Whether it's a pink floral brocade jacket over a simple sweater and jeans or an amazing pair of wide-striped tights and a metallic carryall, she always manages to inject a sense of personality into her wardrobe. And though it was difficult to narrow down our favourite outfits to just five key looks, we think we discovered a lovely quintet of inspiring and idiosyncratic ensembles that perfectly capture the style personality of this month's Model Off Duty.

Roslyakova, who hails from Siberia and made her runway debut at Yohji Yamamoto's S/S 04 show, is famous for her doll-like face, wide-set blue eyes, and shape-shifter-like ability to transform in front of the camera. She has appeared on the cover of countless influential magazines, and starred in Dolce & Gabbana campaigns, photographed by such industry heavyweights as Craig McDean, Patrick Demarchelier, and Steven Klein, plus Christian Lacroix has called Roslyakova his muse (she has closed his last four haute couture shows). Considering the company she keeps, it is no wonder that our ethereal MOD knows a thing or two about putting herself together and looking incredibly chic, both on the job and off the clock!

As you might imagine, there are many perks that come with being a fashion professional (Christy Turlington recently revealed that she has never paid for a haircut due to her occupation). One of the most exciting advantages, we imagine, is having access to desirable duds months before the general public. This bonus is not lost on Roslyakova; in fact, she exhibited one such enviable outfit backstage at Dries Van Noten's S/S 09 collection. Her selection of the designer's sweater dress worn with a knotted mustard scarf highlights one of the most impressive elements of Roslyakova's style: her ability to seamlessly mix different colours and textures with aplomb. Though a sweater dress is a practical piece (every woman should have one in her closet), her selection is anything but boring due to its interesting knit and patterned patches. Whether you go for a monochrome frock or one with a little extra flair, remember to pair it with a contrasting scarf in an eye-catching print, like Forever 21's Basket Weave Scarf ($9), to get Roslyakova's look. Just grab your favourite leather carryall and you'll be set for a fall day dashing between appointments (at the tents or otherwise!). Roslyakova favours a reddish brown Dolce & Gabbana satchel, but we quite like Steve Madden's Bsweet Bag ($158) for a budget-friendly substitute.

Of course, even when Roslyakova's keeping it casual and simply wearing jeans, she still manages to stand out. Take the unfussy floral-accented assemblage she wore backstage at the Sophia Kokosalaki show, for example. Quite the opposite of the show-stopping turquoise and feathered flowing dress she wore on the runway, Roslyakova's blue jeans and Zara sweater tempered the girly statement of her Marc Jacobs pink and black floral brocade jacket. For a similarly blooming blazer, try Silence & Noise's Floral TT Boyfriend Blazer ($78) over a simple sweater and classic denim bottoms like Topshop's Indigo Skinny Baxter Jeans ($80).

Another important lesson Roslyakova can teach us is the transformative power of a statement accessory (and, no, we aren't talking about her conceptual glove-headpiece from Dolce & Gabbana's F/W 09 show, though if anyone can pull this off, it would be our subject du jour!). While her Ohne Titel blazer and Alexander McQueen black skinnies are a stylish pairing on their own, we like how the addition of a striped and tasseled scarf adds a decorative element to elevate her ensemble. Though Roslyakova's exact black-and-white Anna Sui wrap is no longer available, we recommend checking out American Apparel's Striped Scarf ($22) instead, which would look lovely with a white blazer, like Silence & Noise's Cosy Blazer ($48) in Dirty White.

Though some models live in uniforms of beat-up black basics and motorcycle boots, we appreciate that formal outfits made it into Roslyakova's rotation too. Backstage at Lanvin's S/S 09 show (second from right), our MOD experimented with rich colours and layering by rocking an amazing royal blue Dries Van Noten sweater vest over a sheer long-sleeved blouse. The sophisticated shape looks sharp while the vivid hue is impeccable with her fair complexion. Though she added a little edge via a pair of Balenciaga zip-up ankle boots, we recommend you try a bright blue coverall like Topshop's Longline Cardigan ($65) or a long vest such as Vince's Shirred Back Cashmere Vest ($200) with Deena & Ozzy's Suede Zip Bootie ($78) for an equally chic get-up!

Before we close, we would like to leave you, dear reader, with one final look that has us buzzing with anticipation for the cold weather! Spotted in between shows in Paris last year, Roslyakova's monochrome Rick Owen's ensemble is incredible (especially her lust-inducing sheepskin lined leather jacket), but we have really flipped for her amazing tights (far right). We have always had an affinity for fancy hosiery and we think this striped sheer and opaque pair is stellar. Try American Apparel's Super Sheet Tights ($14) for a variation on Roslyakova's striated selection with Steve Madden's Wrappup Booties ($140) and a metallic bag like American Apparel's Watery Purse ($56) to add a little effortless polish and pop to your favourite noir number. You'll be strutting like a top model in no time at all!-KM

Photos of Vlada Roslyakova from ImaxTree and firstVIEW.

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