This week, I was fortunate enough to get the chance to go to Vogue’s Fashion Night out in St. Petersburg. An event that was coined 5 years ago by the brains behind American Vogue (and most notorious fashion-warrior), Anna Wintour, the evening was designed to increase revenue within the industry during the economic slump (somewhat ironic for one of the top 3 wealthiest industries in the world, but we all have to do our bit!). With the promise of enough fashionistas to fill the Neva, I was there in a flash with the help of my trusty Russian friend Anna, who was there to hold my hand through tricky Russian translations and give me the inside scoop on the evening.
We started the evening off at Philpp Plein and although we had been promised a presentation of the latest collection for AW13, there was no such event and so instead, we were invited to take a look at the newly stocked shop. Never in my life have I touched couture that costs more than my University education before, but it was good! I promised myself (whilst resisting the urge to stroke the real furs on my face) that one day, I’ll be able to stroll into a boutique like this and buy something off the peg… no checking of price tag needed! …
There goes a pig!
I then had my first experience of the prickliness of the fashion world. Making our way to Babochka (a Russian chain of boutiques that stock international brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Dior, D&G etc.) we were welcomed into the shop by a friendly doorman and then escorted around the premise by a worryingly thin looking woman. When snapping a few quick pictures on my iPad, Anna was approached and asked (not very nicely) to tell me to stop taking pictures. Apparently I look more foreign than I thought I did! We were then walked around with a rather sharper eye than needed and quickly left the shop. We could have been rich heiresses for all they knew!! Completely felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman… without the figure and exceedingly rich boyfriend.
One thing that did make me chuckle is that my entire outfit for the evening cost less than £20. I’m still a great believer in style over substance but one can always dream!
We then made our way over to DLT- St Petersburg’s answer to Harrods. Stocking everything from MAC and Kheils to Chanel and McQueen, they had everything a woman could ever want (as long as she has the appropriate funding). I merely stared at the tiny bottles of perfume and wondered how anyone could ever think that it was worth more than a brand new MacBook.
I took in the atmosphere whilst sipping on complimentary champagne and cocktails (Anna opted for Vodka as she was feeling ill and had been told that 2 shots of vodka before bed would cure you of all illnesses… probably true!). Apart from being stared at thanks to my bang-on-trend PVC skirt (which I thought the Russians would LOVE), and un-soviet looks (I was about 3 dress sizes bigger than everyone there), it was a really surreal experience.
Women are ridiculously good looking here- you turn a corner and you could sign up about 5 new models to an agency (they must go crazy for them here!). Aside from being slightly intimidated from the amount of gorgeous women, I threw myself into the deep end of the fashion world, even asking a few people if I could take pictures of them for my blog (all in fantastic Russian, obviously). Most seemed pretty delighted that the ‘английская девушка’ wanted to take pictures of them, so that was mildly reassuring at least!
All in all, it was a fantastic, eye-opening night. I have incredibly respect for the Russians who effortlessly wear heels all day long and make it look painless… 3 days later and I’m still in horrendous amounts of pain!
Thanks to Anna for escorting me and Vogue for a wonderful event!