The Kazakhstan market is rapidly growing and Lilya Rakh, a trailblazing fashion entrepreneur from Almaty, is at the forefront of its fashion contingent’s momentum. A style icon in the booming Kazhakh market for decades, her ground breaking multi brand boutique Sauvage, founded in 1997, stocked both avant-garde pieces from Comme des Garçons and Alexander McQueen against extravagant and elaborate garments from the biggest French and Italian maisons. Her shops Sauvage and Lui-Lei have given rise to the Sauvage Group, whose latest flagship, BoutiqueNo1, now anchors a decadent retail complex called Villa dei Fiori in Almaty. Sauvage is now the largest fashion luxury chain in Kazakhstan.
Rakh is now reported to be in deals franchising mono-brand boutiques for Brunello Cucinelli , Tom Ford and Saint Laurent — a new strategy that has emerged out of increased competition in Kazakhstan's market. Rakh’s vision continues to divide opinion in Kazakhstan — some call her merchandising mix genius, visionary and brave, others call it reckless, chaotic and premature for the market. The store reports that it stocks over 300 brands. What’s more, Rakh shows no signs of waning in her activities, she is now reportedly expanding her footprint to new malls being built in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital.
“It is my mother who taught me to be different among others. In Soviet times, when everybody bought the similar dresses in one shop, my mother sewed me a white fur coat with large white buttons, a green coat with autumn leaves embroidery on pockets, my gum boots had a red goose application. She taught me not to follow the crowd and to be different from other people,” the designer has said.