Showing posts with label Moscow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Moscow. Show all posts

Monday, December 8, 2008

Vogue's Russian Dolls

I had promised to stop harping on about all things Russian, but I just have to give a quick mention to something I spotted in Russian Vogue while I was there. To celebrate the magazine's tenth anniversary, top designers were each asked to design a matrioshka doll which was then auctioned for charity. The results are too cute for words and a little more shapely than the stick insects that usually appear on the magazine's pages. My personal favourites are the mini-Miuccia in Prada lace and the YSL babe with her blunt bob. Needless to say, they are all infinitely chicer than the rubbish dollies I bought on a market stall in Moscow for 80 roubles.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Shopping Secrets of Mother Russia

I promise to stop boring everyone with my Russian exploits soon but before I do, I must give you my shopping recommendations. At first glance, shopping in Russia seems to be a choice between a) old Russian babooshkas selling kittens by the roadside b) depressing, abandoned Soviet-style department stores and c) Louis Vuitton for the oligarchs. However, there is actually more to shopping in Russia than this. First stop in Moscow has to be Cara & Co which is a little bit like Dover Street Market in London and stocks designer labels and vintage alongside books and magazines. Also worth a look is Magazin-Zing which showcases a great selection of labels like Whyred, Acne, Peter Jensen and A.P.C. Then in St. Petersburg, Maison Martin Margiela has to be on the itinerary - if not to purchase the gorgeous but expensive brogues, satchels and cashmere scarves, then to just ogle the hot shop assistants in their cute doctor's coats. For some shopping sustenance and to escape the cold, head to the Dostoevsky-inspired Idiot Cafe or La Borsch (11 Fontanka Emb.) for some modern, Russian cuisine and then pretend you're back in the nineties and knock back the cheap vodka at grungy basement bar Fish Fabrique (53 Ligovskiy Prospekt). 

                                                                                        Cara & Co


                                                  Maison Martin Margiela

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Date with Mikhail & Mario

                                             Merce My Way - Mikhail Baryshnikov

Struggling to entertain ourselves on a 17 hour train journey from Riga to Moscow, my friends and I resorted to doing lame impressions of Carrie Bradshaw's Russian lover, Aleksandr Petrovsky, to pass the time ("Is that a banana in your purse or are you just happy to see me?", "Call me Bob" etc. - continue ad nauseum for hours and you get the picture). Yeah, we were pretty bored and going slightly insane as the crazy Russians around us plied us with vodka and red caviar. If this kept us entertained, you can imagine our excitement when we encountered Aleksandr himself on our last night in Moscow. Well, not Aleksandr himself exactly, but an exhibition of photographs by legendary ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov - who, as well as doing a nice sideline in arrogant Russian lovers on TV, is also a fine photographer. The exhibition, "Merce My Way", consists of colourful, blurry images that manage to capture both the movement and stillness in the work of choreographer, Merce Cunnningham. 

The show took place at Winzavod, an amazing collection of galleries, shops and bars housed in a renovated 19th century winery. The centre is now at the heart of Moscow's art scene. On our way in, we bumped into an uber-friendly Mario Testino, in town for Russian Vogue's 10th anniversary party, who greeted me like a long lost friend even though I have clearly never met him in my entire life. If Mario approves, it really must be the place to be in Moscow.

                                         Natalia V in Red Sq  - Mario Testino

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Strangers in Moscow

I have been off regular The Portmanteau duty for the last few days as I head east on my travels to Mother Russia. A combination of night trains and hostels have allowed me to spend a couple of days in one of the most expensive - and dangerous - cities in the world. From the outset, Moscow seems harsh and intimidating. It's quite difficult to navigate with no knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet and the Muscovites we encountered spoke little English and had no time for tourists. After being shouted at by nine different people at Leningradsky Station, I finally managed to purchase a train ticket. And when one of my friends almost got knocked down by the side of a road, a passer-by just shrugged and said "It's Russia". But if you get a good map and persevere, you shall be rewarded for your efforts. The usual suspects - Red Square, the Kremlin Wall, St. Basil's Cathedral, Lenin's Mausoleum - are all amazing and I was completely blown away by the interior of the underground which is so beautiful and a must-see attraction in itself.