“I was planning to be a diplomat, like my parents, but ended up working in fashion in Paris and Moscow,” says Aizel Trudel, the dynamic owner of Moscow’s pioneering multibrand fashion store Aizel. “I joined a PR firm that represented designers like Hervé Léger and Christian Lacroix, and it was seeing boutiques like Colette that inspired me to bring something similar to Russia.” In 2002, Trudel opened a small shop on Stoleshnikov Pereulok, Moscow’s answer to Bond Street; in 2011, she relocated to a gleaming four-storey space with a sprawling roof terrace, a 10-minute walk from Red Square.
The boutique features 120 labels at any one time. At first Trudel focused on American designers – Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs – before adding British talents such as Stella McCartney and Julien Macdonald to the mix. Among today’s broad sweep, popular brands include Balenciaga (edgy stacked-sole Triple S trainers, from $821), Christian Louboutin (classic Paloma tote, $2,061) and Chanel, whose Code Coco and J12 Mademoiselle watches have been featured in limited edition pop-ups. For spring, the selection ranges from the showstopping – shocking-pink stilettos ($672) from Aquazzura – to practical, weather-worthy pieces such as Moncler’s red velvet puffa jackets ($2,000) and screen-printed hoodies (from $225) by Montreal maker 3.Paradis.
“Moscow is a ready-to-wear city,” says Trudel, adding that her diverse clientele includes actresses and high‑profile visitors like Naomi Campbell and Anna Kournikova, as well as local teenagers. “We have a DJ on Saturday nights – and often on Fridays – and the atmosphere is casual and open. I don’t want younger people to feel intimidated,” says Trudel, whose graffiti-clad shop-in-shop, Terminal Z, is dedicated to street-style brands from Japan, Korea and the US, with workwear-style men’s shirts ($162) by C2H4 Los Angeles mixed with skateboards ($163) by Chapurin and cool sunglasses ($275) by Fakoshima x Outlaw.
Menswear is a new venture for Trudel, and in the past year and a half her edit has gained a cult following, fusing streetwear with high fashion. Loewe backpacks ($1,995) rub shoulders with coolly graphic shorts ($320) by young British designer Jacob Kane and statement-making Gucci waist packs ($676) – along with a robust supply of the super-bulky “ugly trainers” that Aizel can’t keep in stock.
Accessories for women, meanwhile, include sleek cross-body bags ($855) by Amsterdam-based, Italian-made label Wandler, as well as enticing pieces from under-the-radar Russian designers and craftspeople: traditional silk/wool Pavlovo Posad shawls ($45) in vibrant florals, for example, are woven locally in the way they have been for over 200 years; a beech clutch ($303) by MyBacio is emblazoned with colourful matryoshka dolls; and the intricate embroidered dresses ($6,180) by Alena Akhmadullina pay tribute to the country’s folklore. “These Russian designers just aren’t represented in Europe, America or anywhere else,” says Trudel. “Local talent is what sets us apart.”