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Fast Confession - designer Natali Ruden at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival: If two people understand each other, it doesn't matter where they come from

Karolína Lišková
03.Sep 2021
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5 minutes

Originally from Kyiv, the popular designer active on the Czech market since 1996, Natali Ruden. could not miss the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which took place in August after a one-year break due to the coronavirus. Accompanied by her son, she was looking forward to seeing a couple of movies as well as fashion shows. Naturally, fashion is what interests her the most. In an interview with, Natali and I talked not only about fashion and movies, but also about interpersonal relationships.

Natali Ruden na červeném koberci.
Natali Ruden na své poslední přehlídce.
Natali se svým synem Filipem

The film festival didn't take place last year because of Covid-19. Were you excited about attending this year's edition?

I was really looking forward to it. I keep saying that I should do a show in Karlovy Vary, but I also want to enjoy the event. I don't want to work here, too, I've been working all year, I'm planning a lot of events. This is a pleasant event for me, where we all meet, have a little time off and it's not really a business occasion. It's lovely, I was really excited about it. After all, coronavirus has broken so many social ties, and now it's time for us to start meeting again and enjoy it.

Yet you're only here for two days. Is it not too little time?

I have to admit that once, I was here for a week and I didn't want to come back the next year. Two, three days, I think, are just right. It is sometimes exhausting, you completely jump out of your regular mode. Moreover, Vary aren't just about movies, but also about parties, cocktails and fashion shows, and you can't do all that for many days in a row without getting tired. (laughter)

Two days are just right.

Prodej funkcionalistické vily Praha - 360m
Prodej funkcionalistické vily Praha - 360m, Praha 8

How is your son enjoying it here?

He is quite spoiled by social events, so it's not a big surprise for him. He was not thrilled when I asked him to accompany me. (laughter)

On top of that, he sacrificed a meet-up with students, his classmates, whom he hadn't seen in a year. All of them are at universities abroad, so it was a rare opportunity, and he gave it up to be here with me. I consider that a pretty big sacrifice. He is a good son.

How will you make it up to him?

He made a deal with me in advance (laughs).

Can you tell us what he asked for?

He wanted to go on a solo trip that I originally hadn't been very supportive of. Now I allowed him to go.

Meaning he will go alone?

Yes, he will go with his girlfriend. I won't be joining them, of course.

Currently, covid restrictions have been mostly lifted. How did it affect your work?

During the time we were in lockdown, despite all the help from the state, it was desperately little. We strove to keep the people, the professionals we need, and we had to make sure they got some sort of payment. That affected us all immensely. I'm glad we all survived, by which I mean other designers, too. But it's a struggle. My brand had a great start, because I was the first designer to do a show at the turn of May and June. It was called Viva la vita, that means "celebration of life", to which we are slowly returning.

That was when we met with our clients after a very long time. Everyone was overjoyed. The host of the event was Mr Ladislav Špaček, I was standing beside him, watching people, and with every cell of my body, I was soaking in the joy and happiness that radiated from the audience, the joy of being able to see each other again. They were happy, in a great mood, beautifully dressed. It was an incredible experience. That, in my opinion, started it. We're still going strong, now I'd say the situation is the same as it was before the covid, but you can still feel the deficit from the past. There is still work to be done. But we're working, and that makes us happy.

How do you feel about vaccination?

I've heard a lot of opinions on it, but all of us are already vaccinated, my son, my family and me. Whichever way you look at it, we mainly need to travel, live a social life and so on. I'm afraid it's a necessity for us. But I don't force it on anyone, I know people who have a different opinion. Let everyone act at their own discretion, all I wish is for everybody to stay healthy.

Despite vaccination and the opportunity to visit cultural and social events again, fear can persist. Personally, I still avoid crowds to a certain extent. What is it like for you when meeting new people?

I don't like the fact that fear remained in people. In my opinion, that's what they wanted to instil in us. There's no easier way to influence people than by dividing them - make them afraid of each other, and you can manipulate them. This situation has shown it to us very clearly. That upsets me. I personally didn't have coronavirus, but I went and got the jab. That doesn't mean I'm afraid, though. Every day, I may encounter an equally complicated situation on the road. It would be like being afraid of the Moon. I'm not afraid of anything, much less of this.

In Fast Confession, we touched on the topic of xenophobia. The current situation in Afghanistan may trigger a new migration crisis, which is something many Czechs are afraid of. You live in the Czech Republic, but you are not a Czech native. What do you think about it?

If these people come here, it will be necessary to set some core rules that they'll have to meet. They have to work, respect our laws and our culture, and can't enforce customs that are contrary to our laws. Should there be a migration crisis, I wouldn't worry about it, if the state ensured compliance with the rules.

Do you still remember your beginnings in the Czech Republic?

Yes, of course. I was very lucky to meet the right people and I can say that I have never encountered xenophobic behaviour. But I know people who have encountered it.

How long have you been in the Czech Republic?

Since 1996.

Luxusní byt na prodej s terasou a výhledem
Luxusní byt na prodej s terasou a výhledem, Praha 1

You had two husbands, both of them Czechs. Do you think that Czechs are better men than men from the East?

That's hard to compare, because my first love was my first husband, who was from the Czech Republic. I got lucky, my first husband was really nice, a great guy, we lived together for nine years. My second husband was just as awesome, a world-class man, he was a very interesting person. Unfortunately, he died and now I'm a widow. I think if that hadn't happened, we'd still be happy together.

Should someone new appear in your life, if that didn't already happen, would you be willing to date someone who's completely different? Perhaps someone with different skin colour? Is culture and race important to you, or are you more of a “global citizen”?

I'm cosmopolitan, but I think what matters is one's personality. What he's like, if he resonates with me or not. His temperament, perspective on life and family. If it clicks, race isn't important, but there must be will on both sides. Trivial differences in cultural customs can play a role, there can be nuances, such as faith. But with the diversity of today's world, anything is possible, and that's how today's youth perceive it, which is great.

Do you already have a suitor?

I might… (laughs).

What will be your next steps in the coming months?

Challenging autumn awaits me, I am preparing a new show, which should take place at the turn of September and October. That means I work day and night on the models and organizing the event to get everything ready. That's why I'll make a small holiday by the sea before the show to recharge my energy. And I'm looking forward to seeing Tosca in the Vienna Opera, I love opera and this piece is one of my favourites. I have beautiful experiences to look forward to.

What will be the motto of the show?

I don't want to reveal that quite yet. But I always try to surprise people with something I haven't done before. I hope I've succeeded so far. This show will also be different, although my style will be recognizable, of course. I want to leave the impression of originality, though.

Natali, thank you very much for the interview.

Fast confession:

Fast Confession:

How many dresses did you bring to Vary?

I'm here for two days, so like six.

The best-dressed star on the red carpet in Vary?

I didn't pay much attention to that, but I noticed Daniela Peštová.

The worst fashion hit of this summer?

The summer is not over yet, so let's withhold judgement.

The last good movie you saw?

Ondříček's Zátopek.

What was the last thing your son made you happy with?

By coming here with me, he had to make a big sacrifice.

What do you like about Czech men?

A sense of family and also their unique Czech humour.

Do you think that Czechs are xenophobic?

This country has been closed for a long time, it wasn’t ideal, but it gets better every day.

What would you change about Jiří Bartoška’s style?


Your favourite summer drink?

I love champagne at any time of the year.

The last fashion show you attended?

My own one in Průhonice Castle, but I'm already putting together another one.

Without which application can you not imagine your life?


Would you rather invest in real estate, diamonds or bitcoins?

I would invest in real estate, but I would buy diamonds for pleasure. (laughter)

Would you rather have dinner with John Depp, Michael Cain or Mark Eben?

Johnny Depp.

Should the President of the Czech Republic be a man or a woman?

It should be a person who represents their country well.
Question by the interviewee for the interviewer:

Which model did you find the least appealing at the festival?

Honestly, Jitka Čvančarová’s.
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