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July 28 2014

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Yigal Azrouël’s Postcard From Kiev And Moscow

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Yigal Azrouël recently wrapped up a whirlwind tour of Eastern Europe, where he showed his collection in Kiev in the Ukraine and hopped over to Moscow for meetings with his Russian clientele. Below, the Israeli-born, New York-based designer dropped us a note from the road.

Going to Eastern Europe proved to be the eye-opening experience that I was hoping for—once I got there. We arrived a day late because of the volcanic ash, and got to Kiev just five hours before my fashion show, staged for 700 people in the beautiful and historic St. Sophia square in the old city (below)—so that was a bit hectic. The show was hosted by the Helen Marlen Fashion Group, and checking into the new Hyatt on the square, it was exciting to look out the window and see the final touches of the production while they finished erecting the tent for the 20-piece orchestra. Putting the show together in that short a time was certainly stressful, but it went on without a glitch and the Kievites expressed their love of both fashion and New York to me afterwards. We enjoyed a late dinner at the hottest new restaurant in town, the OK Bar, and got a taste of the nightlife at Club Crystal. Kievites have an incredible enthusiasm for all things new and fashionable, which extends through all aspects of their lifestyle.

Day 2 was a day packed with back-to-back press meetings and TV interviews, but I did manage to get to see St. Andrew’s Church and walk down Andreevsky Spusk—Kiev’s version of the Montmartre—through the local markets selling Matryoshky and Nevoloshky dolls and all things military (below), including gas masks and parachute jumpsuits. And then, after only 38 hours in Kiev, it was off to Moscow.

Pulling into the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow is basically pulling into the Red Square. It was so exciting to be able to peek through archways and see the square looming on the other side. My first afternoon was mostly focused on visiting clients, and one thing I can say is that they love luxury here! I also appreciate that the stores stay open until 10 p.m. everyday; shopping is an important pastime for the Muscovites. We had a great meal at Mr. Lee—allegedly the Mr. Chow of Moscow—and strolled through the streets, finishing with a night cap at the top of the Ritz overlooking an incredible view of Moscow. The next day was filled with more meetings, but there was no way I was leaving Moscow without some cultural sightseeing. I stole two hours to walk through the Red Square (above left) and the Kremlin, where I was able to squeeze in a quick tour of the Armory Museum and see some outrageous articles from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, including Fabergé eggs, horse carriages from the czars, jewels, crowns, and wardrobes. Those were clearly decadent times! I also had perfect timing and got to view the changing of the guards. My last meal, surrounded by five friends and colleagues, was at an exquisite traditional Russian restaurant, Pushkin. It was the perfect ending to this trip exploring a unique and vibrant part of Europe.

Photos: Yigal Azrouël

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