привет from Moscow! I’m here all week doing seminars as part of the launch of Fashion Snoops in Russia. Exciting stuff AND I just so happened to be here for Fashion’s Night Out Moscow, which was held Tuesday September 6, 2011.
For the event, supermodel Natasha Poly partnered with VOGUE magazine to create 1,500 tote bags with her image on it. The tote bags were sold along with Russian VOGUE for 2,000 Rubles (about $65) with proceeds going to the “Who if not I” charity. Although I would never buy FNO NYC or Paris gear, I felt compelled to be a part of this event because it was my first time in Moscow and in general I applaud the FNO efforts to get people shopping.
First stop was department store TsUM, where I purchased my tote bag and Russian VOGUE at a FNO kiosk. The store drew quite a fashion crowd (as well as a personal appearance of Natasha Poly later in the evening) and congregated on the first floor in the midst of Russian designer clothing and sea of beauty counters and free champagne. The well-heeled elitist crowd mingled and interviews were hosted. I found it kind of ironic, though telling, that the crowd was dressed head-to-toe in international non-Russian designers. Labels like Balenciaga and Chloe offered special gifts with purchase, as a FNO incentive.
Next stop was GUM, the stunning luxury shopping mall in Red Square with illuminated exterior (and intriguing history). All the usual luxury brands were present on the ground level including Louis Vuitton, Etro, Dior and Hermes. There was a FNO kiosk in the middle of the mall, however the limited-edition products and/or gifts seemed to be absent from most retailers with the exception of a special Moschino bag and Etro t-shirt for FNO. The mall environment – while spectacular in general – seemed to draw less foot traffic and even though many designer stores served snacks and drinks, the energy was just not there. However, Louis Vuitton featured a fun board cutout of the illustrated F12 collection which I convinced Julia, my FNO partner in crime, to pose for with me. Photos at FNO in front of logo-clad backdrops are fun but I much prefer props like the LV cutout or the double G’s at Gucci in Paris last year.
Unfortunately I think I was a little more excited about FNO Moscow than the event itself, however I was happy to experience another FNO city. In retrospect, NYC is still the ultimate event. Last year I thought the event was too exclusive in Paris (it was invitation only, and only designer stores on 1 street participated). In comparison, Moscow attracted a similar crowd as Paris, though the atmosphere was less enticing. Being a New Yorker I am a strong believer in the democratization of fashion, which I think should be encouraged in major cities. But then again I remind myself that Anna Wintour of Vogue in NY created FNO and each Vogue editor is responsible for the execution of the event in their city. Of course there’s no place like New York, but when it comes to getting people excited and into stores, market expansion beyond luxury brands goes a long way.