By  on October 23, 2007

MOSCOW — Jil Sander, known for its minimalist take on fashion, has opened its first store in this traffic-clogged mecca of new-wealth oligarchs and conspicuous consumption.

Located on the ground floor of the sprawling GUM department store on Red Square, the 1,900-square-foot store, which carries all of Sander's men's and women's lines, is located near MaxMara, Kenzo, Paul Smith, Pomellato and Louis Vuitton. Mikhail Kusnirovich, the president of Bosco di Ciliegi, which developed the Red Square side of GUM, operates the unit. Bosco's other brands include Givenchy, Kenzo, MaxMara, Moschino and Marina Rinaldi.

Though Russians are celebrated for their love of extravagant fashion, Kusnirovich said he believes Sander's arrival in Moscow coincides with a growing desire among sophisticated Muscovites for more subdued, intellectual looks.

"Definitely minimalism of the Nineties was rejected by Russians," he said. "It was like a mist of mineral water for someone who is dying of thirst.

"But now Russia is not behind the global trends," he continued. "And Jil Sander is not your ordinary minimalism. Raf Simons has combined clear shapes and exclusive fabrics. I am sure the brand will find devoted customers among women with high self-esteem, who are young professionals or involved in creative activity."

Meanwhile, he said another Sander shop would open at the end of the month in St. Petersburg.

Marc Duhm, worldwide wholesale director of Jil Sander, also voiced enthusiasm for the brand's prospects in Russia. "The customer here is ready," he said. "This August we opened our first-ever accessories corner in the world in Moscow's Vesna department store [which also belongs to Bosco]."

Russia, in particular Moscow, has been an El Dorado for many of Europe's leading luxury players, from Cartier and Boucheron to Prada and Hermès. Last May, Ralph Lauren opened twin stores in the city in partnership with Russia's Mercury distribution group.

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