Russia’s leading designer, Vika Gazinskaya, shares her perfect day in the city
hen i wake, I drink coffee with goat’s milk, as I prefer a strong, rich flavour. Or I drink Tibetan tea, which has Indian spices like cardamom, cloves and fresh ginger root; it’s healthier and better for my body but it takes a while to prepare, so if I’m in a rush I have coffee.
I like it when it’s warm in Moscow, around 25 degrees, which isn’t often. I love to walk around the centre, the tiny little streets, and feel the mood of the city. Much of old Moscow disappeared during the 1990s. I was born and raised here, and when it’s warm, I love my Moscow. I’m looking forward to spring when I can walk more. I just bought an apartment at Chistiye Prudy with a very nice view.
On a perfect summer’s day I’d wear a sarong with sandals, or in spring, probably Prada trousers, simple, like the staff in the boutiques wear, with minimalistic sneakers, like classical Adidas, Nikes and white shorts, or a cotton T-shirt and a non-leather Stella Mccartney backpack is perfect. I’m vegetarian. I don’t use leather in my collections and I don’t wear it. It’s a comfortable look; I can do many things. In my backpack would be heels, for a possible evening change, but small ones —3-4cm high, comfortable yet feminine and chic. Roger Vivier shoes are perfect for me.
Lunch would be Coffeemania near my house, a chain with very good food and the best cappuccino in the world. Then I go to my studio to fit a model or meet a client.
If there’s an opening at Dasha Zhukova’s Garage [Centre for Contemporary Culture] or an exhibition, I’d go. June will see the big reopening of Garage by architect Rem Koolhaas. For now, we’ve had a temporary space that Shigeru Ban made from paper. Garage has the best shows and is the coolest place to visit. I like art but have expensive taste. I can’t buy Anish Kapoor or Antony Gormley, so I visit museums.
There’s an interesting concept store called KM20 [Kuznetsky Most, 20] that has nice clothes, with a cafe, and you can play ping-pong. I call it the “museum of fashion.” It’s a beautiful place. There’s also the Aizel boutique, with three floors of beautiful clothes, accessories. And then [Denis] Simachev Bar for lunch.
I go to Glent beauty salon. It has a great atmosphere, with good massages, facials and the best people. The food is healthy and you can eat while you manicure or pedicure.
For formal dining, something businessy, there’s Dr Zhivago, which opened just before New Year. It has Soviet cuisine. It’s very beautiful with a view of the Kremlin. For the moment it’s cool to go. Another place, small and hard to book, is Williams—an Italian chef, fusion cuisine, tasty. For clubbing, we’d start in the Four Seasons’ new Moskovsky Bar. And then Simachev Bar, a cool spot to dance and have fun and see all the people you know. If the music is good we dance all night until 6am.
I always ask the barman for a very strong cocktail. He squeezes a fresh ginger root, which is really, like, wow!—your eyes are dropping out—then fresh lemon, which I squeeze into the glass myself and mix with the ginger, and then I add the vodka, half a lemon and ice. It’s strong yet also very healthy. The ginger absorbs all the toxins and you never get drunk, but stay clear and healthy. They will put that drink on the Moskovsky Bar menu with the name Vika Gazinskaya!
On a perfect day I would also read—now it’s Hermann Hesse’s autobiography, one of my favourite authors. To end the day, I’d watch one of my favourite Russian films by Nikita Mikhalkov, A Slave of Love, a very poetic Soviet movie from 1975 about the final days of the Russian intelligentsia. A silent film actress—vera Kholodnaya—falls in love with a Bolshevik. The film captures the poignancy and depth of Russian culture. Vika Gazinskaya was born and raised in Moscow