Shopping in St.Petersburg
One of my best and worst finds in St. Petersburg…
(depending on whether you look at it from the perspective of my wardrobe or my bank balance) is a clothes shop; Gate31.
Gate31 self-identifies as a ‘concept store’, i.e. a boutique selling a selection of carefully curated Russian designers. They have clothes, shoes, accessories, cosmetics and a whole host of covetable items you technically don’t need, but find irressistable anyway – beautifully bounds notebook, art books, glossy lifestyle magazines and so on.
The designs are simply flawless. Aesthetically, its similar to Cos or &OtherStories – all monochrome minimalism and slightly androgynous style. All the clothes share the same focus on cut and quality and a slightly obssessive approach to perfecting minimalism. They have a whole rack of about thirty white shirts, for instance, each one with just slightly different details in the shape or style.
There are two Gate31 stores in St. Petes, both in suitably hipster locations; Gorkovskaya 31 and Rubensteina 16. Shopping in either feels like the sort of expereince you would get at Saks Fifth Avenue – not only is the shop laid out like an art gallery, but there are even comfy chairs and coffee tables full of books for you to browse. The immaculately curated clothes rails are arranged in colour blocks, and there is no clutter in sight anywhere – everything is airy and spacious. Shop assistants will adopt you as soon as you walk in, setting up your personal dressing room – such that no sooner that you take something off a rack to examine, its whisked off for you to try on at your leisure. All in all it is, I should warn you – dangerously easy to part with your money here.
Gate31 is one of three clothes shops gathered under the rubric of the ‘Russian Room‘ collective, which started in 2009 as an online store, and has since branched out into numerous locations across the city. Each shop features a collection of brands from around the world, championing young and little-known designers and bringing them together into a cohesive vision. The philosophy of the owners is not to pursue populist currents and micro-trends, but rather to carefully invest in timeless style and practical wear. As such, with each item, priority is paid to quality of manufacture and design with a goal of creating an inspiring and modern collection of understated outfits with a directional edge.
If you have any roubles left over at the end of your trip, you know where to spend them… just watch out for that luggace allowance won’t you?
This blog was brought to you by Kamila, student and intern at Liden and Denz St. Petersburg