My very first time at Volvo Fashion Week in Moscow and I am as happy as a kid in a candy store! I was excited about coming to Moscow for this event, but I also had my reservations. Firstly, it was cold in Moscow (well compared to London anyway) and I was not looking forward to hanging around in the cold all day and not feeling my fingers or my toes. Secondly, having never shot Moscow street style or not really knowing Russian designers, I did not know what to expect. Works out, fashion events are adaptable to weather and stylish people are stylish regardless of where they live!
Volvo Fashion Week in Moscow (I keep saying the full name because, weirdly enough, there is another fashion week running in Moscow concurrently) is set at the wonderful Gostiny Dvor venue. It is basically a huge exhibition hall but also happens to be beautiful inside with lots of natural light as the entire roof is made of glass. Two tents are set up inside for the catwalk shows, there is a 'technical area' which is basically an atrium where hair is done, models hang out and castings take place; and there is the 'public' area which is where all the fun begins... Basically, I understand the Russian approach to be as "if it is not enjoyable then why bother??" which I guess makes sense. Unlike the heavyweight fashion weeks in NY, Paris, London and Milan that are all business-buyers-sellers-watch-and-get out type events, the Moscow counterpart is very much come-hang-have a champagne-and-watch some fashion type event. Allow me to elaborate. There is a full-on bar with a DJ set up in the middle of the whole thing. You can reserve a table, have your Veuve and drink it too. Right next to the bar there are the latest Volvo cars in bright red being shown off. Behind the bar is a hair studio where you can get your hair done whilst having another glass of champagne. And of course there is the VIP waiting room, which is for those people who are kind of a big deal and they prefer to drink their Veuve with other more privileged fashion individuals.
For me personally the highlight of the venue was the cloak room where you could also get a locker and dump all your stuff there instead of lugging it with you all day. I was also pleasantly surprised by the organisation of the event and the fact that the PR people responsible for organising and registering the media remember most of the bloggers and photographers by name. Moscow Fashion weeks (lucky for me this season :) are yet to reach the point where there are hundreds of fashion bloggers and photographers hanging around trying to shoot people so doing street style here is much easier here and more enjoyable as people who attend the shows are not being mobbed at the entrance.
The catwalk shows are running back to back so getting to all the shows whilst trying to shoot street style in the meantime makes lunch/coffee breaks near impossible - something that ALL fashion weeks have in common!