Diora Usmanova, 27, is the niece of Uzbekistan Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the niece-in-law of Arsenal tycoon Alisher Usmanov.
Usmanova is a widow and heiress after her husband Babur Usmanov, 30, died in a horrific car accident in Tashkent in May 2013. He was believed to be driving a female friend home from a birthday party when the tragedy happened.
Her husband’s uncle, Alisher Usmanov, is a shareholder of the Arsenal football team, worth $14.75 billion. Some have speculated that Babur would have been the heir to his childless uncle’s vast fortune. Alisher Usmanov is considered the second richest man in Britain and founded his wealth in mining, mobile phones and metals among other things.
Uzbekistan, bordered by Kazakhstan in the north and Afghanistan in the south, was formerly part of Russia and the Soviet Union before becoming an independent republic in 1991. The country’s political system is mainly authoritarian and has been criticized for its poor human rights record.
Her prime minister uncle is a loyal supporter of autocratic president Islam Karimov. Under Karimov’s ruling, human rights abuses skyrocketed as he is known for boiling his enemies with oil.
Usmanova, described as the “Marie Antoinette of Uzbekistan,” is accused of being out of touch with people in her country after starting a business that involves dressing Russian children in $7,000 gowns and attire.
Samples of her designs include pearl-encrusted dresses that echo the fashion of Russia’s tsarist history.
Her extravagant kid couture was inspired by her now 4-year-old daughter Mariyam. At the age of two, Mariyam complained about not having a fancy dress to wear as she didn’t like French-designed outfits. Usmanova said:
“My daughter came to some children’s event where everyone was dressed to their nines. I had forever dressed her in unassuming Bonpoint — but that day my little Mariyam said, ‘I want to leave.’
“I asked her why, and she said, ‘Mother, I don’t have a beautiful dress.’ Imagine, she was only two years old then, she had just learned to speak and she already felt uneasy.”
Her design label is called Bibione, a nickname for her daughter. Usmanova purportedly dissed the French capital for not being high-end enough for her store. She was reported as saying:
“I get depressed in Paris after a week of being there. Moscow if fun and Paris is boring.”
Usmanova has also been denounced as immoral and hypocritical in the past. She was particularly harsh in her opinion of Switzerland, particularly the town of Zug.
“Nothing happens in Zug. And the most awful thing is that you begin to get yourself adjusted to the local community. I kept doing my hair for a while, and in two months of living the Swiss life, I found myself dressed in an oversized sweater and realized I was even running out of the house wearing flip flops.”
Her extravagant kid’s couture line has been under fire since opening in Moscow. Usmanova has an Instagram account with over 129,000 followers where she posts pictures of herself in elegant gowns and posing with her young daughter.