East Village Snow

Late last week I got an email asking me if I’d like to go to Moscow this week for a Mango fashion show. Would I? Hell yes. My family fled Russia in 1917, and I’ve wanted to visit for as long as I can remember. There are all sorts of family stories that I was told as an infant, from my great-grandfather owning the first car in St Petersburg to my paternal grandmother showing me a thimble with a ruby in the top that she said was a present to an ancestor from a Romanov. Sadly every piece of family silver & history was stolen in a burglary some years later, and all that remains are the stories.

Only thing is, we hadn’t really factored in the labyrinthine Russian visa system. Cue: evening sessions at the PR agency filling in forms that wanted to know if I had ever been a nuclear weapons expert, required explicit details of my university education and the date and destination of every foreign trip I’ve taken since 2000. (I worked back to 2009, and the form wouldn’t take any more. Hardly surprising since I’ve been to over forty cities & fifteen countries in the past two years.) But thank goodness the final visa approval came through at 6pm this evening – and we are off at 930am tomorrow morning. Nothing like brinksmanship.

It’s a fleeting trip – we arrive late afternoon, have supper somewhere very smart, spend Wednesday checking out Red Square etc, do more eating, then head to the Mango fashion show in the evening. Briony is coming too: Team LLG in force! She’ll be covering the trip too over on A Girl, A Style, so you’ll get double value from us. (I’m so used to travelling on my own that it’s rather a luxury to have a friend along too.)

Right: off to organise myself. It’s bloody freezing in Moscow right now, and neither B nor I have super cold weather clothes in this country, and no time to shop, so I begged, & the Uniqlo press office kindly let me rummage through their old AW sample rails this afternoon. They have given us each a down jacket and some Heat Tech undies (the stores are pretty much all SS11 now), so I am working out a suitable -10C look, that doesn’t involve blue lips, frozen fingers and frostbitten toes. (The hat with the pom pom ties in the photo above is def coming.)

Photo: Dixon & I in the snow in the East Village, March 2007

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Actually, it’s not freezing in Moscow at the moment. It’s +3C, and the forecast for tomorrow is -1C. So you deffinetly won’t be needing thermal undies 🙂
And if you think applying for a Russian visa is a hassle, that’s because you’ve never had to apply for a British visa. Trust me, the system is no less labyrinthine 🙂


Dobree Dyen! Hope you have fun. My stepmum was born in Russia and raised in Ukraine so I share your desire to go there and have fun!


CL is taking me out BOXING tonight. Oh yes. Wish I could come to Russia with you instead xxxx


j’adore your blog, if you will come to Moscow , i am waiting for youwith your friends to visit me!
i know that it is a little bit of sillym coz you dont know me, but i promise it will be great to meet u here!


All of my Mum’s family and my Dad’s maternal family were from St Petersburg and left in 1921, all ending up in Scotland separately via various means by 1948. The older generation never went back, but I like you would love to!


Have a great trip! I lived next to the Soviet Union for many years but have actually never been across the border from Finland to Russia. xx


I hope you will have a great time in Russia. I’ve been to several places and Saint Petersburg has to be my favourite city, I loved it there.
By the way, I know that Sasha is a very popular name in Russia but you probably know that, too 🙂 x


Jealous! I ventured to Uniqlo last week to stock up on heat-tech gear before heading to Iceland and they weren’t selling them anymore.

Can’t wait to hear about your Russian travels! Big furry hats are a must…


A lady I work with has told me about her father who was high up in the Russian army, worked with the Romanov family and even met Rasputin. When the revolution took place he fled, discovered his parents and older sister had been shot- their bodies slumped on the floor below a blood covered wall. He left Russia and never returned.

Such incredible stories; I’m trying to convince her to write it down.

Oh and she has one of the first bottles of Chanel No. 5 ever sold- jealous doesn’t cover it.



this is so exciting – i didnt realise you had Russian heritage! im sure it would be a bit of a culture shock but you are bound to fall in love with the country and the city. I havent lived there for many many years but every time i’m back there it is just as exciting! hope you had/having an amazing time

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