One of the coolest things about fashion is that it is a global industry. Despite being lead by cities like New York and Paris and their marquee fashion weeks, similar events take place in major cities across the world. Of course, thanks to travel costs and time constraints, it's not always possible to experience those other fashion weeks — so when Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia reached out and offered to send someone from the Fashionista team to Moscow (for the second time), I jumped at the chance.
I spent the ten hour flight from New York sitting shiva for my beloved Zayn Malik, who announced on Wednesday he was leaving One Direction. (The flight attendant did not appreciate my "pouring one out" in the aisle, but we all have our coping mechanisms.) By the time I arrived at Hotel Metropol, I had sorted out most of my sadness and was ready to start Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia.
The first official event was a lunch at a restaurant called Grand Cafe Dr. Zhivago, which as I am to understand, is one of the hottest restaurants in Moscow. It was gorgeous, done mostly in white with red accents, and the food was great. I would tell you specifically what I ate except I was jet lagged and don't speak Russian, so all I can say is that it was a plate of various Russian-style meats. And they were all tasty!
Of course, the purpose of the meal was to meet Alexander Shumsky, President of MBFW Russia, who brought along a few Russian designers as well. It was an informal meet and greet sort of situation, which was perfect, since most of us were pretty fresh off the plane and I was not really doing great at conversing. (Whether I am ever really great at conversing is debatable.)
Upon return from lunch — which started at 3:30 and ended around 5 because Russia is great — it was time to take in a bit of culture. They had arranged for a few of us to attend an opera called "The Enchantress" at the famous Bolshoi Theatre, and since I've never been to Moscow before, I was more than happy to take advantage of the experience.
I had to leave the opera early to make it to the first fashion show which started at 10:30. Which is sort of crazy right? Even the last show at New York Fashion Week is over by like, 9 P.M. Honestly, I was fine with leaving early because the two characters I liked, Yuma and Yuri, were at a really happy point, and I think we all know that literally everyone dies at the end of operas, so I'm just going to pretend that the story ended with those two kissing and in love.
Anyway, I had worn my black stilettos because I wanted to look nice and they're the only black heels I own. Plus, they were important to the #aesthetic — one of the Russian girls with our group commented that she really liked my skirt because it reminded her of Carrie Bradshaw, which is obviously a fashion compliment of the highest order. So when there was an issue with the car, we had to walk to the venue, me wearing what are my most vertiginous heels. "Now you're really like Carrie Bradshaw!" she said, confirming what I have always feared: I am actually a Charlotte.
It was only a few blocks away, but we were rushing to make it on time and there were many cobblestones. My entire life flashed before my eyes — one wrong move and I was fashion roadkill (sorry, I was already in Carrie Bradshaw mode). The experience taught me that I am absolutely right to never heels during fashion week and also confirmed that those who do are insane. Seriously guys, is there a secret I'm missing?
Despite arriving slightly after the start (and getting yelled at by a pit photographer! Fashion is the same everywhere.), I still got to check out the collection from Russian brand BEssARION. The models had their hair combed over their faces to form a sort of mask, all wearing tons of black and white with accents which looked like a modern interpretation of military badges. The finale look was a model wearing a voluminous dress, held out dramatically at the sides, and an actual mask over her face (paging Kanye West!).
I ended the night with a couple of fellow Americans attempting to get McDonald's (hey, when you're jet lagged and hungry, you're "lovin' it"), which despite being a 24 hour establishment, was closed just for one night — Thursday night. So instead, we ended up at a restaurant with a name that literally translates to "Burger Meister," where we shared fries and drank Russian beer. Not a typical end to an evening during fashion week, but a great start to my Russian fashion week experience.
Disclosure: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia has paid for my travel and accommodations to attend and cover the event.