By  on March 19, 2010

MOSCOW — Tomas Maier, creative director at Bottega Veneta, spent only 24 hours in Moscow on his first trip to the Russian capital.

Still, between parties and interviews Wednesday, he managed to make his way to the Kremlin’s illustrious collection of jewels and diamonds, seeking inspiration from the treasures that once belonged to Catherine the Great.

“I read about them for so long, I just didn’t want to miss it,” Maier said.

The designer was here to present a limited edition handbag inspired by imperial Russian style. The snakeskin clutch, lined with bright purple suede and adorned with an antique clasp, calls to mind the swirling malachite, which was a favorite of the Russian imperial court’s interior design.

Maier said he first became enthralled with the style when living in Paris, as its antique shops are filled with Russian luxury items of yore. The Bottega Veneta boutique on Tretyakovsky Proezd, Moscow’s premier luxury shopping street, will stock 30 clutches, priced at 225,500 rubles, or $7,708 at current exchange, each.

After toasting the bag at a cocktail party at the Bottega Veneta boutique, Maier, Bottega Veneta chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri and a small group of Russian celebrities retired next door to Moscow’s Baccarat restaurant for an intimate dinner.

Bottega Veneta also was due to host a customization event this weekend at its boutique at the Barvikha Luxury Village. “It’s a growing market and it’s very sophisticated,” Maier said of Russia. “Women want something they can keep for a long time, and maybe even pass on.”

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