Varvara Alay lives in Moscow with her son, Larick, and their dog, Murzik.

About Varvara Alay

Varvara is a graphic designer and illustrator, whose distinctive style is defined by surrealist motifs, bold colours and abstract shapes.

She invents highly detailed and endlessly fascinating worlds that blend fantasy and realism in an intricate web of elaborate characters and majestic patterns.

Between 2002 and 2017, Varvara served as Art Director of leading fashion and lifestyle magazines, including L’Officiel, Robb Report and The Rake. Her illustrations have also been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Marie Claire, GQ, and others.

Since 2017, Varvara has taught BA and MA courses at the Art and Design School of the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. She currently curates their Illustration and Animation programme, as well as the Mr. Mind School – creative art courses for children.

She has illustrated several children’s books and board games, collaborates with a jewellery brand, and once had her appartment photographed for a design blog.

Selected clients

Harper’s Bazaar / Esquire / L’Officiel / Marie Claire / GQ / The Rake / Robb Report / TBWA / Mamas & Papas / Nokia / EPIC Jewellery / Egmont / Snob / Yandex / Art. Lebedev Studio / Saint Petersburg Philharmonia / Russia-Culture TV Channel / 2×2 TV Channel / The Polytechnic Museum / Slava Polunin / Gazprom / Sberbank / Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design


  • Senior Lecturer:Art and Design School (Higher School of Economics, Moscow)
  • Curator:Illustration and Animation programme (HSE Art and Design School)
  • Curator:Mr Mind courses (HSE Art and Design School)

Exhibitions & awards

  • 2009 Tallinn Print Triennial: Grand Prix
  • 2010 International Newspaper Design Biennale: Silver Award
  • 2017 Bologna Children’s Book Fair: Official Selection
  • 2017 Motley Square: exhibition of 50 Children’s Illustrators
  • 2021 State Museum of Architecture: Set Designer of the Epic Jewellery exhibition
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