Friday, October 07, 2005

Rolls Royce Opens Shop At One Red Square, Next To The Kremlin

"Olga Sorokina picks at a bowl of kasha at the Vogue Cafe in Moscow and contemplates her next shopping move. The languid 20-year-old is bemoaning the state of the collections here, compared with the choice she sees in Milan and Miami. But she does like the jewellery in Moscow, she says, and she’s been thinking of buying a ring. “I saw it in a magazine,” says Sorokina, who is married to the chairman of a Russian bank. “I’ve never bought Cartier in Moscow - my last ring I bought in Paris - but I like this one.” Outside is her Porsche Cayenne, her first car, which she is too nervous to drive. So it is her driver who takes us to Stoleshnikov Pereulok, a cobblestone alley containing a cluster of luxury boutiques. He waits at the top while Sorokina swoops into Cartier and buys a i10,000 [dollars or euros depending on which is of higher value] gold cheetah-head ring with emerald eyes. The cheetah’s nose rests heavily on her small knuckle. “Of course I’ll wear it very rarely,” Sorokina sighs, as if already bored. “Maybe once or twice.”

Sorokina, who travels frequently, finds that the pleasures of most of Moscow’s luxury shops have palled. But she still loves the clothes at Roberto Cavalli, which she teeters towards, in extravagantly high-heeled tangerine sandals, over the cobblestones of Tretyakovsky Proyezd, Moscow’s shortest and most expensive street. She tries on a i1,500 peacock-print skirt; it is a little big in the hips, but she buys it anyway. Her gold card is extracted from a Louis Vuitton wallet, itself housed in an oversized Fendi bag

Two years ago, Sorokina lived in a small, poor village in Belarus and couldn’t tell Prada from Gap. “There are fashion magazines in Belarus, but no one can afford to buy them,” she says. “I knew I wanted to get out and be a model in Moscow.”

Russians are not living as long as they used to under the Soviet Union - the World Health Organisation says that a Russian male’s current life expectancy is 56 - while state statistics show that the average monthly income in Moscow is only about $350, and less in the rest of the country."

Nora FitzGerald "Lenin wouldn’t like it" [Arts & Weekend/Billionaires] Financial Times October 7, 2005.

An almost hidden corner of The Kremlin, Moscow

Photo credit: Maxximum Sound and Lights


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