Moscow is a city of grey building tops and tall office towers, yet even here fashion is quickly going international. Chloé, Guerlain, the well known fashion designer, has ads plastered around the city, and Glamour magazine lines the gridlocked motorway of billboards as well. And as we go down in the lower city, radio ads can be heard talking of Myarc Jyacobs, Dyor, Tchyanel and Yarmanyi.
As for Red Square itself, the giants of big brand fashion are also visible, right next to the 25 years old statues of communism. Louis Vuitton, Moschino, Hermès and MaxMara all have places in GUM, the well known department store facing the Kremlin along with Lenin’s Mausoleum and the apple-topped landmark that is the Cathedral of St Basil.
Back when communism fell, there were almost no western goods for people to buy in GUM, and even though a few pounds was worth a small fortune in rubbles, there was simply nothing to buy. Today, at a meeting with Glamour’s managing editor Masha Fedorova is a great event, a bottle of Perrier costs £5, and tourists are everywhere.
Masha sips on her drink and says that it has been a long time since fashion was important for Russian women. It actually was, but it was simply too expensive. Customers could not buy what they wanted. They were not even able to dream of getting a dress from designers Versace or Dior.
Perfume was a similar story, but now things are different. Once more people can spend, and this is why the advertising campaigns are so strong and invasive, to hit this untapped market. This is what they are trying to do, and attempting to reach.