Moscow was at its best to welcome us two week ago. Blue sky, bright sunshine, comrades standing to attention; Leonid made sure I avoided revolutionary sunstroke by lending me his cap.
An original Moscow, the meeting of Chanel and Russia at the Maly Theatre, a gorgeous setting from Tsarist times transformed into a cinema for the showing of Karl Lagerfeld's film, "Coco 1913 – Chanel 1923", followed by a cabaret with Maria, Anabela, Irina, Sasha, Angelika, Tatyana, Natasha and Vlada; the letter A on the runway punctuated by the sound of Terem Quartet's giant balalaika.
Still with the Tsars, the next day began with a visit to Red Square and a tour round St. Basil's Cathedral, whose onion domes explode with psychedelic colour and decoration, leaving the imagination plenty of scope to dream as to their origin.
Everything changes at the Mayakovskaya subway station where we considered the art deco architecture and glamour icon mosaics in praise of work, sport and the strength of the people on a starry sky background, which must have influenced American cartoons and imagery of the thirties.
In the film "Coco 1913 – Chanel 1923", Grand Duke Dimitri thought nothing of Russian constructivism; he didn't know about the Bakhmetevsky bus garage, Moscow's modern art centre, whose facade would shock even Franz Ferdinand’s graphic artist.
At VDNK park, the Cosmos museum points up to the sky like a rocket on a launch pad; its array of low relief sculptures representing idols of the cosmos is reminiscent of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, the ZTT era.
Back to earth and there's absolutely no doubt that here we're in Eastern America, the beautiful Moscow girls have traded their sickles for false eyelashes, Russian techno music blares out over the airwaves, but the square is still Red; it's exhilarating!