KAZAKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
From V78 The Youthquake Issue, V Magazine Fall Preview 2012
THE EUROPEAN POP GROUP KAZAKY IS NOT YOUR AVERAGE BOY BAND. WITH THEIR DANCE-READY BEATS AND FASHION FEATS IN RAZOR-SHARP STILETTOS, THE FEARLESS FOURSOME IS CARVING OUT A NICHE ALL THEIR OWN
Photography Inez & Vinoodh
Fashion Nicola Formichetti
Text Patrik Sandberg
To say that Kazaky is not your average boy band would be a tremendous understatement. Well over the prime TigerBeat age of fifteen, the four members of the Ukrainian dance-pop entity are quickly gaining momentum on a global scale thanks to their sleek, fashion-forward videos, pulsating dance-pop bangers, and over-the-top styling choices—most famous among them a proclivity for six-inch stilettos.
“It started as a joke,” Kazaky founder and apparent spokesman Oleg Zhezhel says of the heels, via translator (the boys do speak English, albeit very, very little). “We just wanted to try the shoes on and see how we danced in them, and then it became our thing—we liked it. We don’t become feminine when we put them on, we feel that we put them on and become more of a man. We can still be masculine.”
Paired with their preferred uniforms of fringe, pointy shoulders, spiked studs, oversized sunglasses, patent leather harnesses, and gratuitously exposed flesh, the footwear is but a drop in an ocean of sartorial excess. When viewed in full scale, the compounded absurdity reaches Zoolander proportions—the boys become chiseled, pouty-mouthed club performers on a rampage. Naturally these antics have caught the eye not only of the fashion world—Kazaky has already walked the DSquared runway—but also of pop’s long-reigning queen of reinvention, Madonna. (Recall those glittery, swirling specimens in her recent “Girl Gone Wild” video?)
It’s not surprising that Kazaky’s collective star is on the rise, given the too-fabulous-to-stand-it attitude in the fashion community and the boys’ attractive fierceness. To wit: their website describes them as “an amazingly alluring cult of dance, music, body, sexuality, fashion, and provocation.” Yet the foursome remain unassuming about their style.
“It’s not something we set out to represent or be involved in,” Oleg says. “But we have become known very much for it and we love it. We love talented people and working with talented people, and there are a lot of them in fashion.”
Citing themselves as dancers first and foremost, the group comprises Oleg, the musclebound, determined, and vocal nucleus; Artur Gaspar, his strong but silent, trusted best friend; Kyryll Fedorenko, who bears a street-tough style but boasts the pale, dark-rimmed eyes of a Siberian Huskie; and Francesco Borgato, the new kid on the block (no pun intended). Upon the success of Kazaky’s first few singles and videos, released in 2010 and 2011—like the throbbing club anthem “In the Middle” and the ridiculously direct “Love” (You want me/You need me/You hate me/I don’t care)—one of the founding members, Stas Pavlov, flew the coop to pursue solo aspirations. “It was his own decision to leave, and we’re very happy to have met Francesco,” says Oleg. The newest member was discovered after he posted a fan video of himself dancing to Kazaky’s choreography on YouTube. It went viral, and the group came knocking.
“Even though there is a language barrier, he fit right in and we love working with him,” continues Oleg. “He is as strong a member of Kazaky as any of us.”
“I have to say it’s different,” says the Italian-born Francesco of his new Ukrainian stomping grounds. “It’s another culture and another way of seeing life. Coming from Italy it’s certainly not easy, but I haven’t had trouble because I have a great group to spend my time with.” “The best part of being Kazaky is that it doesn’t stop after the work day,” Artur explains. “We’re all friends. We hang out together, we spend our evenings and days and vacations together. So we are friends first, and then there is the band.”
With Francesco fully integrated, Kazaky 2.0 is ready to tear it up in the States, heels and all. When asked how they feel about being in New York, they begin to excitedly talk over one another in a crazy clamor of Russian exclamations. “We love America!” Francesco translates. Their dream collaboration? Beyoncé, naturally. Her choreography is unparalleled in recent years. And with fashion shows, major photo shoots, and a number with her Madgesty under their chicly studded belts, why shouldn’t the boys be courted by Queen Bey? Picture it: like “Single Ladies,” with all the same clothes, but no ladies.
Whatever does happen next, one thing is for sure: they’ll be in it together. “We feel we have a special place in the pop world right now, and we are learning every day to change as we grow. We are looking forward to the future. We want to be together for it and walk the path to the end.” Kazaky or bust.
MAKEUP AARON DE MEY (ART PARTNER)
HAIR DIDIER MALIGE FOR FRÉDÉRIC FEKKAI (ART PARTNER)
MANICURE DEBORAH LIPPMANN (THE MAGNET AGENCY)
LIGHTING TECHNICIAN JODOKUS DRIESSEN
DIGITAL CAPTURE BRIAN ANDERSON
PHOTO ASSISTANT JOE HUME
STYLIST ASSISTANTS BRANDON MAXWELL, JULIEN ALLEYNE, HAYLEY PISATURO
STUDIO MANAGER MARC KROOP
MAKEUP ASSISTANTS FRANK BOYD AND TAYLOR TREADWELL
HAIR ASSISTANT TAKASHI YUSA
RETOUCHING STELLA DIGITAL
LOCATION PIER 59 DIGITAL STUDIOS
SPECIAL THANKS TONY JAY, ALEXEY MIRONITCHEV, NADIA STOGNEVICH