MOSCOW — Tom Ford, who first ventured to Russia as a college student in 1984, on Thursday stood in the atrium at the Tsum department store here promoting his new fragrance, Violet Blonde.
“I think Russian customers in general — I’m making a generalization — like strong fragrances,” he said. “Violet and blonde are like two contradictions. It’s almost like Elizabeth Taylor as a blonde.”
Alla Verber, vice president of Mercury Group, the company that owns Tsum and the high-end shopping street Tretyakovsky Passage where Ford’s second Russian boutique just opened, said she has strong expectations for Ford’s beauty range, produced by licensee Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.
“Customers at Tsum are the first ones to try a new product and the first to use a new fragrance,” Verber said, as the 90-minute wait for autographed bottles attested.
Ford made his first advance into the Russian market with his signature brand in 2008 when he opened a boutique in the Mercury-owned Barvikha Luxury Village in the outskirts of Moscow and Tsum began carrying his men’s wear.
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Popular in Russia, Ford was crowed GQ Russia’s title Designer of the Decade. The new three-story boutique, one of his largest, marks the introduction of his women’s wear.
The store’s first floor currently sells fragrances and lipsticks, but Veber noted cosmetics are more suited to department stores like Tsum, which will stock the 132-piece collection. Still, fragrances were displayed throughout the store; next to shoes and intermingled with sunglasses and belts in an accessories case.
Ford said he was impressed by the speed with which the Soviet city he visited as a student became the metropolis it is today.
“The Moscow customer and the New York customer and the Paris customer and the Milan customer, they’re all looking for the same things. However, they wear them differently,” he said.