August 15, 2005
It’s all about the woman. Natalia Konovalova, designer behind Bulga, was first introduced to fashion working as a model, but has been in love with women’s wear since she a was a little girl living in the former Soviet Union. Inspired by her mother, Natalia has always been fascinated by exactly what it means to be a “woman” and studied fashion throughout her teens with uncommon interest, searching for how a woman’s sense of style reflects her individual personality.
At the age of twenty, Natalia’s life changed forever when she won “Princess of Kazulkum” and was whisked away to the United States to pursue a career in modeling. It was during this time that she first became acquainted with the fashion industry and was inspired to create something of her own, “It has always been important for me to express myself,” says Natalia, “Fashion was going to be how I finally did it.”
In a courageous move, Natalia enrolled in New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology and after four years of hard work graduated with a fashion degree in women’s wear. Fresh out of school, Natalia started to examine a fashion market saturated with overpriced hand-bags with “hand-made” looks. That is when she decided the time was right.
She started designing her bags under the name Kono Valova but wanted a name that better matched the inspiration she felt when creating her line. Her answer came one day out of the blue while she was casually glancing over an antique globe: “I was looking at all the old names for towns in my country and my finger came down on a town called “Bulga”. After I looked it up I literally fell out of my chair; the English translation of Latin word “bulga” is leather bag!
Today, Bulga is the culmination of years of experience and outstanding talent. Natalia is creating her handbags for the independent, cultured woman who is well traveled and loves the arts – a woman who is sexy, smart, confident and seductive, who knows what she wants and when and where. “It is not about an age,”insists Natalia, “it’s an attitude!”
Leather is Natalia’s favorite medium and she loves playing with the shapes and colors of her bags. The designs are dependably classic with fun, feminine accents often found inside the bags through the fabric linings. Her tailoring background can be seen in the exquisite silhouettes of the handbags.
Though she loves her designs, handbags are just the beginning. After studying the history of Gucci Natalia decided to start small and hopes that one-day the Bulga name will be a complete line of women’s clothing. Until then, Natalia will continue to focus her keen sense of style on her beautifully crafted bags.