Countess Alexandra Tolstoy has launched an embroidery line ‘inspired by her grandmother’, as she rebuilds her live a year after being ‘evicted’ from the £12M mansion owned by her Russian billionaire ex.
The aristocratic beauty, 47, the daughter of Count Nikolai Tolstoy and ex-partner of Russian billionaire Sergei Pugachev, 58, revealed she was inspired by a Russian doll given to her as a child.
Last May she told how she was evicted from her London home, after her ex lost ownership in 2018 when Moscow judges ruled that it belonged to creditors in the Russian capital.
Countess Alexandra Tolstoy has launched an embroidery line ‘inspired by her grandmother’, as she rebuilds her live a year after being ‘evicted’ from the £12M mansion owned by her Russian billionaire ex
The aristocratic beauty, 47, the daughter of Count Nikolai Tolstoy and ex-partner of Russian billionaire Sergei Pugachev, 58, revealed she was inspired by a Russian doll given to her as a child
The couple met in 2008 after Sergei hired Alexandra to help improve his English while they were both living in Russia, where Sergei was once-close friends with Putin
Taking to Instagram as she expands her interiors business, The Tolstoy Edit, Alexandra shared pictures of the hand-stitched napkins and pillowcases featuring Russian Dolls.
Giving a glimpse at her home workshop, she wrote: ‘Thrilled to launch my Matryoshka collaboration for The Tolstoy Edit today. Using Volga Linen pieces to create this exquisitely hand-embroidered collection of table linen and pillowcases, including a limited number of square and rectangular tablecloths, sets of napkins and small pillowcases, the inspiration for the embroidery came from a Russian matryoshka doll given to me by my grandmother.
‘The 100% linen pieces are intricately hand-embroidered by Leigh-Anne Phillips who studied at École Lesage and interned at Lanvin. Leigh has embroidered for Atelier Paloma, Ralph and Russo and Christian Louboutin, amongst others.’
The post racked up over 3,000 likes and comments among her 95,000 followers.
Taking to Instagram as she expands her interiors business, The Tolstoy Edit, Alexandra shared pictures of the hand-stitched napkins and pillowcases featuring Russian Dolls
In September Alexandra took to Instagram to give a glimpse into the newly renovated house she had moved into with her family a year ago (seen in her countryside home)
Alexandra says the family were evicted from Pugachev’s £12million west London family mansion in May 2020 after reportedly being given just two weeks notice by the Russian government, who had repossessed the property (pictured)
In September Alexandra took to Instagram to give a glimpse into the newly renovated house she had moved into with her family a year ago.
She wrote: ‘This time a year ago I was desperately trying to secure a rental house – we were staying temporarily in someone else’s home for the month of September as we had had our house taken from us by the Russian government in mid-July…a long story that is fortunately now far behind us.
‘With only a week or to spare – we were rejected by the owners of the only other two suitable houses – I finally found somewhere. As often seems inevitable in life, it turned out to be a hundred times better than the houses we had failed to get, and all the anxiety had been for nothing!
‘Although it was in the perfect location for walking/scooting to my children’s schools and was the perfect size, it was in a terrible state. I persuaded the owners to do it up and we shared the renovations – in all of ten days we totally repainted the house as well as ripping out and replacing the bathroom floors and the entire kitchen.’
The aristocrat shares children Aliosha, Ivan and Maria with financier Sergei Pugachev, who was once dubbed ‘the Kremlin’s banker’ and was close to Vladimir Putin before falling into disfavour. He is now seen as a ‘traitor’ by the Russian president.
From billionaire to broke: Who is Alexandra Tolstoy?
Before she met Sergei, Alexandra was married to a penniless Cossack named Shamil Galimzyanov. The pair met whilst travelling along the Silk Road on horse in 1999.
Tolstoy first met Sergei, then a Russian senator and trusted friend of Putin who had separated from his wife, when asked to give him English lessons while she was living in Moscow with Galimzyanov.
A year later, they met again at an awards ceremony attended by the Russian president. Within months, Tolstoy and was pregnant with Sergei’s child. They had three children together – Alexei, known as Aliosha, Ivan and Maria.
Alexandra is the eldest of Anglo-Russian historian and writer Nikolai Tolstoy’s four children. She grew up in Oxfordshire before going to Edinburgh University to study philosophy. She spent her gap year in Russia.
After arriving in the UK in 2011, he was accused of siphoning a fortune out of his finance house Mezhprombank. State creditors in Moscow pursued him in the British courts, claiming he embezzled hundreds of millions.
The oligarch fled to France, where he remains, and was sentenced to two years in his absence by a High Court judge in 2016 for breaching court orders relating to hundreds of millions in allegedly stolen cash.
Writing for the Telegraph, Alexandra accused her former husband of trying to ‘cajole and then force’ her into travelling to France with him, but said that ‘after years of living in fear’ she knew remaining in London with her family was the best decision.
Last year Countess Alexandra Tolstoy revealed how she and her children lived ‘out of bags while camping with kind friends]’ for months after being ‘evicted’ from the £12M mansion owned by her Russian billionaire ex.
Alexandra, whose title descends from her father’s great-grandfather, Pavel Tolstoy-Miloslavsky, who was titled a Count for his services as the chamberlain to the last emperor, Nicolas II of Russia, was left caring for her three children alone.
The family were evicted from Pugachev’s £12million west London family mansion in May 2020 after reportedly being given just two weeks notice by the Russian government, who had repossessed the property.
The mum admitted she felt ‘hopeless’ and was reduced to tears, spending the summer living out of suitcases with friends and with her parents in their country home in Oxfordshire – where she spent lockdown in February.
Eventually she decided to auction off her furniture with Christies and rented a home in Battersea, south west London, where she launched interiors business, The Tolstoy Edit.
WHO IS SERGEI PUGACHEV?
Sergei Pugachev once owned two major shipyards, the world’s biggest mine and large chunks of real estate in Moscow and St Petersburg, as well as the Mezhprombank, which he co-founded in the 1990s.
He enjoyed a close relationship with Vladimir Putin, and in 2008 when Sergei’s bank hit problems, the Russian state bailed it out with $1 billion loan.
Sergei amassed enormous wealth from his companies, and lived a lavish lifestyle before becoming an enemy of the Russian state
Sergei, who left Russia in 2011, claims that relations between him and Putin cooled, due to his relationship with the Russian leader calling him a ‘traitor’ for dating ‘English woman’ Alexandra, the Kremlin tried to seize or destroy his business empire.
The Russians then accused him of profiting from vast sums of taxpayers’ money given to Mezhprombank by the Russian central bank at the height of the 2008 economic crisis.
It has since been pursuing Sergei Pugachev through the High Court claiming he illegally siphoned hundreds of millions of pounds from the government bailout of the Mezhprombank.
Authorities froze his assets, put him on Interpol’s wanted list and obtained a court order in Britain forcing him to hand over his passports.
By 2015, he was dividing his time between France and the family home in London and reputed to be number 3 on Kremlin’s hitlist.
Mr Pugachev denies the allegations and claims Moscow is trying to steal £11billion of his assets, including two shipyards and the world’s largest mine.
He has previously been declared to be in contempt of court, with a two-year prison sentence left hanging over his head should he return to this country.
He had been living in France for the past five years after being ordered to give up his passports in 2014.
In Nice, he was visited by the DIA who demanded repayment of the billion dollar loan and threatened his family, saying they could ‘cut off his son’s finger and send it back to him.’
He also claims ‘credible attempts’ had been made on his life in the UK.
The tycoon is in another legal battle with Russia in The Hague where he is suing the Federation for £11billion.
He claims he is being targeted because of his knowledge of state secrets.
Sergei said he enjoyed a ‘very close’ friendship with Russian president Vladimir Putin before falling out, with the politician calling Sergei ‘a traitor’ for dating an ‘English woman’
Alexandra Tolstoy launches her own embroidery line ‘inspired by her grandmother’