Watches & Jewellery | Diary of a Somebody

Stephen Webster

When it comes to drinking vodka, it’s the Russians who call the shots

Stephen Webster

May 27 2011
Stephen Webster

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

The boutique opening was everything we wanted it to be. Lots of glamorous women, photographers, and a vodka called Veda, which means “to know” in antique Russian. After several shots with clients to be polite, I was starting “to know” in modern English.

The night was rounded out in a private room in the new Moscow Nobu with 10 of our best clients and friends, including Russia’s most famous fashion designer, Chapurin, who dresses my wife. Russians are very extravagant people. No matter what is done, it’s never done by half. Even with the eye-watering prices concocted by Nobu, the dishes and the sake (spelt “cake” in Cyrillic) just keep on keeping on. Another note: no matter what the drink, it has to be shots. No sipping here.

Today is a train-travelling day. I love the train. This is a brand new high-speed link between Moscow and St Petersburg, my wife’s home town. It’s all very Dr Zhivago. Even to the point that we are going to spend the whole journey in the bistro carriage. There is a note saying “No games or falling asleep at the tables”, which is a shame as I was thinking of a round of golf and forty winks.

Despite Russia’s meteoric rise from the dark ages to the dynamic country it is today, some things are still embedded in the past. Within 10 minutes of the start of the four-hour trip we were told “all soup is finished” and the sandwich was of a particular combination that was hard to put my finger on.

In St Petersburg we are to be VIP guests at Aurora fashion week. At some point there will be work shown by students from art schools across the country entitled The Seven Deadly Sins. All inspired by the SW collection of the same name launched last year. There is a substantial cash prize.

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