MOSCOW — To Jean Paul Gaultier, Russia is a land of contradictions.
“Russia is a young and fresh country, filled with all the spontaneity of youth. At the same time, it’s got great tradition and a very old culture,” Gaultier said in the middle of a five-day trip to Moscow last week. “It’s a great and very exciting mix.”
What better site, then, for Gaultier to hold his first couture show in Russia than in the gilded hall of one of the capital’s busiest train stations. Leggy Slavic beauties donned Gaultier’s summer collection, as well as select retrospective pieces.
Overhead, an ornate ceiling was decorated with Soviet-era images and a painted red banner reading “Workers of the world unite.” Outside the train station, hundreds of passengers gathered to catch a glimpse of Moscow’s beau monde.
It’s a rough contrast that inspires Gaultier, who first visited Moscow in 2005 to mark the opening of his first boutique in the capital. That trip was followed by ready-to-wear and couture collections imbued with influences from Russian folklore.
“It’s a creative explosion here,” said Gaultier. “With this romanticism and this madness, how could you not be creative?”
For the past year and a half, that creativity was not matched by high spending. The global financial crisis hit Russia harder than many countries, sending retail crashing by around 30 percent.
Gaultier’s visit is a sign that trend might be reversing, said Mikhail Kusnirovich, chief executive officer of Bosco di Ciliegi, the luxury holding that represents Gaultier and dozens of other Western labels in Russia.
“We thought about organizing this a year ago but realized it wasn’t the time,” Kusnirovich said. Now, with retail showing incremental recovery since the start of spring, the time seemed right, he said.
Bosco plans to open another Max Mara boutique this year, as well as 21 shops devoted to the group’s Bosco Sport brand.
Despite the crisis, Gaultier said he saw Russia as a country in the midst of massive growth. “Russia is changing so quickly. It’s moving and really opening up to fashion,” he enthused.
That’s a message Gaultier managed to encapsulate in his show at Kazan train station, one designed, he said, to represent the possibilities of travel. “It’s always been one of my dreams to do a show at the Gare de Lyon,” Gaultier said of the landmark Paris station. That has never worked out and, instead, he said, “I’m realizing this dream in Moscow.”
In addition to the Friday night couture show, Gaultier spent a full day fitting Russian clients and one day touring the capital’s fashion museums.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)