Sunday was my final day in Russia, which meant fitting in some last-minute souvenir shopping and viewing as much Russian fashion as possible. I also had the chance to sit down with the director of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia, Alexander Shumsky, who, at over six feet tall with an impeccably groomed beard, makes for an intimidating presence. But then, as much as he is all business during working hours, the man also enjoys a good party — he threw a dinner at Vasanta, one of Moscow's hottest new restaurants, on Sunday night wearing a Batman t-shirt under a blazer, making sure we all had enough to eat and drink.
Earlier that morning, we had the chance to attend an intimate press preview for Saint Tokyo, whose runway show we had seen the night before. Pitenin Yury, who is incredibly sweet and adorable, hails from Saint Petersburg and has only been running the contemporary line since 2012, but has a great eye for the kind of clothes cool girls want to wear.
Later, Georgian designer Goga Nikabadze received so many flowers during his finale walk, he had to stop and put them down to even continue.
And now, some more observations on Moscow: There are two things that you are definitely going to encounter everywhere you go. One is metal detectors. Each place I went — the hotel, restaurants, the show venue – there were metal detectors to go through. The second is: You're going to check your coat. This is not an option. This is not a service offered to make your life easier should you so choose. Every place I went, I was not allowed to enter without checking my coat: Not the Pushkin Museum, not the restaurants, definitely DEFINITELY not the Manege. You come to Moscow? You're checking. Your f*cking. Coat. Adjust your lewks accordingly.
But then something kind of cool happened about midway through my stay: Instead of being intimidated by the fact that I didn't speak the language, I felt invincible. When you can't understand what the fashion week security guard is saying to you, does it matter what he's saying? By the end, when I needed to get a photo of something or get into a place, I just insisted on moving forward as though I couldn't understand the request — mainly because literally, I couldn't. I plan on pretending not to understand security this upcoming season in New York. I will keep you all posted. (Please note: This did not apply to the aforementioned coat-checking rule. There is no getting around this. You are going to check your coat.)
I have to give an enormous shout out to Katya, who organized the trip and made sure everything was as easy as possible for me, and Irina, who was an all-around badass assistant to me during my stay in Moscow. I would have been lost without her help translating, and also, she has some of the best hair I've ever seen.
Disclosure: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia has paid for my travel and accommodations to attend and cover the event.