A passion for shoes. Obviously made in Italy. Thanks partly to the region she lives in, the Marche, with its high concentration of prestigious brands and shoe manufacturers.

Model, actress, tv personality, blogger – but, before all that, metallurgical engineer – Natasha Stefanenko has a special relationship with shoes, thanks partly to the fact that her adopted home, the Marche, has one of the largest concentrations of shoe production districts in Italy.

When I was a teenager in Russia shoes were a necessity, fashion didn’t exist and there was very little choice, even though Italian-made products were starting to become popular. When I arrived in Italy, I went wild.

From her blog, Natasha’s Way, she now dispenses tips and advice on lifestyle, fashion, cooking, family (something she’s well qualified to do since she’s been married to model and entrepreneur Luca Sabbioni for 25 years and has a 17-year-old daughter, Sasha), travel and beauty. But shoes still remain her greatest passion.

How do you match your shoes to an outfit?
The outfit is very important, but shoes can help to set it off. For example I like wearing a tailored dinner jacket and matching it with an eye-catching pair of shoes. But then, at other times, my shoes can be practically invisible underneath my dress. I like “enslaving” fashion, rather than being a slave to it.

How many pairs of shoes have you got in your wardrobe?

I have a room just for accessories because they no longer fitted into the shoe closet. And I’ve had to have some more wardrobes made for my Milan house as well.

Luckily my daughter Sasha has the same shoe size as me, 41, so we can swap. She’s in America now and for the end-of-year school prom she asked me to send her a pair to match her dress. I have shoes in every possible shade and colour, and for every possible occasion and purpose. I love sneakers and flat jeweled sandals. Being so tall, it’s not easy to be casual or sporty and feminine at the same time. For example, thick-soled models or mules that are too aggressive don’t suit me.  

How many pairs do you buy each season?
It depends. Sometimes I get fixated on a certain model and wear it a lot. Like a pair of Loriblu,  bought recently, which I wore on Tv at Domenica In and Detto Fatto. Sometimes I pick out a pair of shoes from the back of my wardrobe that are a few years old but still fashionable, such as my Alaia shoes. They are not vintage, they’re “way ahead”.

Which kind of shoes would you never go without?
Flat jewelled sandals, white sneakers, classic black court shoes, which are a passe-partout, high-heeled sandals with a perfect line to wear with a long dress.

Which would you throw away and why?
I don’t like throwing them away. Even shoes that hurt my feet but are beautiful, I use for photo shoots or lend them to my daughter or niece.

Italian shoes are …
A unique mix of characteristics: quality, femininity, comfort, fashion. I only wear Italian shoes, because they give me confidence.

A place where you sometimes go barefoot.
On lawns. I like the feel of grass beneath my feet.

A place you could never go without shoes.
In Russia where temperatures can drop to – 40 degrees.