Moscow Fashion Week like no other, avoids tradition

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MOSCOW, Oct 30 (Reuters) Girls clutching diamond-studded mobile phones and Versace-suited men in land cruisers show Muscovites love their glamour, but the city's fashion week was markedly different from its European counterparts.

Unlike established fashion footholds Milan, Paris or London, Moscow Fashion Week strayed from the traditional, featuring designs by the 14 year-old daughter of a multi-millionaire and models who broke with catwalk ritual by smiling at the audience.

Housed in Gostiny Dvor, an elegant revamped 19th century exhibit hall near the Kremlin, over 70 designers -- all Russian but two -- presented their spring-summer collections to Moscow's elite and famous during the event, which ended today.

Smiling models strutted down the catwalk at the city's 14th fashion week, something almost never seen in fashion, and some even danced.

''We went through 70 years of being forced to wear what we were told to, not what we liked. Now, every woman can try create her own style, way of being,'' Russian-Italian designer, Natalya Picariello, told Reuters before her show.

Kira Plastinina, daughter of the CEO at a large Russian dairy holding and designer at age 14, had girls in plastic shorts and electric pinks.

Other collections were showcased by way of mini-theatrical presentations, strengthening the week's unregulated feel.

Male and female models danced to Russian love songs, flirted with each other and did mock-poses for the audience at Slava Zaitsev's show, Russia's foremost designer who used to dress the Soviet elite.

Design house Voronin had male models scramble for the attention of a sole female in a flowing red dress, while other designers directed their models via loudspeaker.

The designers' clothes were literally pret-a-porter, or ready to wear, on sale at a labyrinth of boutiques in front of the stages.

Unlike other fashion cities, the clothes were affordable at prices from 2,000 roubles.

''Why try be like Europe? Moscow Fashion Week is about the now, the kitsch... It's about doing anything you fancy'', said Anfisa Chekhova, an author of sex guides and distant relative of the writer Anton Chekhov, dressed in a bright yellow 1950s suit and corset.

Moscow Fashion Week -- which attracts little international interest -- had 120,000 attendees this year, up from 100,000 in 2006.

Reuters SG RS1810

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