Radmila Lolly’s powerful vocals and distinct sense of style ensured she rose to the top real quick. The multi-hyphenated powerhouse is known for her elegant creations as the sole designer of the couture fashion house Eltara Casata and for creating magic with her voice. Her recent single U R Moving Me (ft. Dani Hagan) quickly made its way to the top 25 of the Billboard Dance Chart. Radmila’s music and fashion endeavours feed off each other – something that was apparent at the launch of her latest album Wonderland at Carnegie Hall in New York. She performed the entire album with a live string orchestra while models displayed her corresponding couture collection. Her designs have been sported by celebs such as Gayle King and Bebe Rexha, and also featured at the Barneys Madison Avenue Trunk Show and Daytime Emmy’s Ceremony.
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In an exclusive chat with Radmila Lolly, we talk to her about being inspired by Russian cashier ladies in their 50s, her fascination with Bollywood and her journey so far.
ELLE: What sparked your interest in music and fashion?
Radmila Lolly: When I was a child, my mother used to sing her own melodies and songs around the house. My mother’s brother would occasionally stay with us and he had the perfect pitch. He could play the guitar to any song he listened to on the radio the first time he heard it. It fascinated me and I thought, ‘I could never emulate that’. As a child, I greatly respected the opera, which, to me, represented a high level of training and discipline. Also, growing up, I used to take my mother’s scarves and pin them into extravagant style gowns and dance in front of the mirror, lip-synching to popular ‘90s music.
Fast-forward 15 years later, I became an opera singer and would create gowns for my own performances so I could look the way the music made me feel. After the performances, people would often come up to me and ask what designer I was wearing. I would avoid the question by saying it’s vintage because I didn’t want to confuse people and wanted them to take me seriously as a singer. After a while, I decided to create a full collection based on my new album. I consider myself a storyteller and I express myself in different forms of arts.
ELLE: Growing up, what did you want to make a career in?
RL: Around ages four to seven, I was fascinated with a cashier’s job… I loved the sound of the buttons and machines. In Russia, cashier ladies who were typically in their 50s, always had their hair in an updo and a full face of makeup, dressed very nicely and all glammed up.
ELLE: How would you describe your personal sense of style?
RL: I believe life is too short to wear boring clothes. I love to express myself by putting and mixing unexpected pieces together.
ELLE: What sets apart Eltara Casata from other contemporary labels?
RL: Eltara Casata creations are handmade and produced only in very small quantities in the United States. Most of my pieces are one-of-a-kind and are custom-made for individual clients. I take pride in what I do, so all the pieces are finished in a high-quality way.
ELLE: Have you ever visited India?
RL: I have not been to India, but I always wanted to go. I would really love to do a concert or fashion show or both in the near future or even appear in one of your wonderful Bollywood movies. I watched a lot of Bollywood movies growing up. The music, fashion, acting and dancing in those movies always inspired me.
ELLE: What are some projects you’re currently working on?
RL: My upcoming self-composed album corresponds to a novel that I am writing. This project has been in the works since I first started the novel six years ago. When the book was started, I had always wanted an album to go along with it, but at the time I did not compose at all, I figured someone else would be composing it. Since then, my musical journey has brought me to composing, and now I can tell the story of my novel in another medium. There will also be a corresponding audiobook, and of course, a couture line to accompany the album and the novel.
I’ll be releasing the album and the book with a grandiose dance show based on the book’s storyline in November 2021. I will be performing certain songs from the album with a live orchestra and contemporary musicians. The dancers will be dancing to the storyline of the novel while wearing Eltara Casata’s new collection, which is also inspired by the book.
Photographer: Eugene Manning; Make-up: Clarissa Montenegro; Hair: Krish Luxe Beauty Bar; Cover design: Pinky Akola, Radmila’s PR agency: SGG Public Relations