Moscow fashion week shuns glitz as credit crisis hovers

Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:52am EDT
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By Amie Ferris-Rotman and Simon Shuster

MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) - Moscow showed uncharacteristic reserve at its 20th fashion week with models strutting in diaphanous gowns and soft colors as the financial gloom of the credit crunch nipped at its stiletto heels.

The sushi-nibbling Moscow elite descended on Gostiny Dvor this week, a revamped 19th century exhibit hall near the Kremlin to see home-grown designs and catch a glimpse of Hollywood star and ex-Bond girl Denise Richards.

"I am extremely proud to open the 20th jubilee of our city's fashion week, Moscow is a true European capital," Moscow mayor of 15 years Yuri Luzhkov said sitting two seats down from Richards at the show of celebrated designer Valentin Yudashkin.

Luzkhov later presented a huge bouquet of colorful flowers to the raven-haired designer, who has boutiques in Europe and was commissioned to dress the Russian military.

Muted, neutral colors featured heavily in his spring and summer collection for next year, reminiscent of Milan shows last month where designers stuck to simple clothes in what fashion experts said was an attempt to keep cautious buyers keen with clothes that can work through several seasons.

The token Hollywood star for the event -- birthdays of billionaires and gallery openings in Moscow usually have one -- was Richards, who did her best to overcome the language barrier with an ear-to-ear smile.

"I love it, it's wonderful," she said of the Russian capital. "The show was amazing, it was fantastic," she added, teetering on gold high heels and wrapped in a short shiny dress.


<p>A model displays a creation by Kazakhstan fashion house Kuralai during the Moscow Fashion Week in Moscow October 23, 2008. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin</p>