Who is Russian Socialite Sonya Molodetskaya Taking Over the San Francisco Fashion Scene?
Sonya Molodetskaya is the Style Editor-at-Large for Haute Living Magazine, a former refugee from Russia turned fashion tastemaker in San Francisco. What she’s also known for is being the lady friend of the most famous politician in San Francisco, former Mayor Willie Brown. Regarding her relationship with Willie she once told Modern Luxury: San Francisco “I know people are judgmental, and I’m sure they think of me as a Russian gold digger,” Molodetskaya says. “If I paid attention, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.” In reality, she, like Brown, has created an outsize personality that she lampoons better than anyone else can. For Halloween a few years ago, she wore a gold minidress, a huge dollar-sign necklace, and a miner’s helmet. Ultimately, she says, the joke is on the haters. A T-shirt that she had made at Westfield Centre quotes Coco Chanel: “I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.”
Sonya’s a woman who once had her own boutique before it went down in the recession but there is something to being arm candy to Mr. Willie Brown and the social capital of attending 3 events in 90 minutes to include Brooks Brothers, Prada and Cavalier. She grew up in poverty but it doesn’t mean she didn’t grow up with a sense of fashion. Her mother, she says “wouldn’t even take her garbage out without putting her makeup on.” As for just how she became known as such a style guru in San Francisco, it’s because of the complete lack of fashion inspiration the city has. In an April Fool’s Day video H&M did spoofing Mark Zuckerberg, it showed Silicon Valley and its uniform attire of jeans and t-shirts. “It’s a surprising lack of imagination. You can wear sequins to breakfast! Why not?! The one who dares, lives,” she quips. The most fashionable people in the city, according to Molodetskaya, are its students. “Younger people can’t afford to go to Chanel to buy their outfits, so they create from what’s affordable. We need people who are different who can bring something new and exciting into our city.” And that is exactly what Sonya’s done by being an easily spotted fashionista often catching the eye of street photographers as well as causing her to be covered by Style.com, rachelzoe.com, whowhatwear.com and a number of others.
She recently did a breakdown of her day for HauteLiving.com where she gave a breakdown of her day, giving insight on what it’s like to be a San Francisco socialite.
6:00 a.m. Generally, I wake up pretty early. I don’t sleep. My mind is always working on something.
6:30 a.m. I’ve come up with a new morning routine. I like to exercise—and by exercise, I mean not doing exercise, but I go for a walk. I go on a five-mile walk with my dog, Kukla. Her name means doll in Russian. I walk out of my house, and I pick a spot. I go up to North Beach, or I walk all the way to the Marina. Then I turn around, and I walk back. I enjoy the morning because it’s a quiet time for myself. I don’t call or text anyone. I usually have coffee as I’m walking. I enjoy the natural surroundings of the city and my own company. It helps to clear my mind. When the weather is terrible, I’ll walk to the gym and use the treadmill.
8:30 a.m. My walk fills me with energy, so when I get home, I turn on music. Lately, I’ve been into house music and Latin tunes because I love the rhythm. I turn the music on, and I get out my computer. I check emails. I read text messages. I do all my media. I post something on Instagram, on Facebook. I eat a little breakfast. Just coffee and pieces of salami and cheese. I don’t cook—the most I can do is boil eggs. When I feel like I need to be on a diet, that’s what I have for breakfast, a hard-boiled egg.
9:25 a.m. My latest obsession is statement jewelry. I’ve been wearing a lot of statement earrings. It’s something I never paid attention to before. For whatever reason, I couldn’t care less about accessories, but now I can’t stop thinking about them! I’m designing jewelry. I’m not going to sell them or anything, but I go, and I create something, so I do a couple of sketches. I have a woman who puts them together for me.
11 a.m. During the daytime, I often have an event. It could be a lunch, it could be a meeting, or it could be getting together with girlfriends. If it’s a lunch, I usually go to the Battery. So I get ready to go there. I see what the weather is like, and depending on how many events I have that day and how many meetings, I try to figure out what to wear. It depends on my mood. If I had it my way, I would wear jeans and some cool top every day. However, if the event sounds dressier, I wear something more formal. Often, I select what I’m going to wear based on shoes. I’m a shoe addict, and I start from the shoe up, thinking about what goes on the top? What goes on the middle?
12 p.m. Sometimes I go out for a blow dry, but only if there are a bunch of special events in a row. Usually, I do my hair and makeup at home.
12:15 p.m. I Uber to the Battery. I always take Uber. If I’m going to a party that requires a gift, like a birthday, I’ll bring a bottle of good Champagne and a lovely candle. You can get away with this kind of a gift because pretty much everyone appreciates Champagne, and she can always drink it while she’s burning the candle.
1:00 p.m. I’m trying to cut back on my alcohol intake, so lately, I’m not drinking during the daytime. I enjoy lunch—whatever it is, a salad or chicken and French fries, and the company of my friends. We love to get together and talk. We exchange news or gossip about something.
3:15 p.m. I call Willie [Brown, Molodetskaya’s longtime boyfriend and former mayor of San Francisco] on my ride home. We talk five or six times per day.
3:30 p.m. When I get home, I take the dog out for another walk. Then I change my outfit. I’ll put on something more appropriate for night. I like to wear something more elegant in the evening. I change my look multiple times per day.
5:15 p.m. I order another Uber and head to Hayes Valley to meet my girlfriend Rada. We go to The Riddler and order Champagne and caviar. We talk about a sale that we are hosting.
7:30 p.m. Rada and I, along with a couple of other friends, go to Che Fico for dinner. It’s an excellent new Italian restaurant on Divisadero. We order red wine. I like outstanding red wine like Opus One. Because I don’t cook, I always eat dinner out. I go to Kokkari or a steakhouse with Willie at least once a week. But tonight it’s Italian food.
10:15 p.m. I don’t like drinks after dinner because I want to be in bed by 11:00 p.m. at the latest. I wake up at 6:00 a.m., so to get enough hours of sleep, I have to be in bed by 11:00.
11:00 p.m. I get home and am so tired I pass out right away. I wash my face and slap on some La Mer products, then go straight to bed.
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