Saturday, January 18, 2014

Kazakh Style

The first time I arrived in Kazakhstan, I was struck by the well-dressed passengers waiting for luggage with me... designer bags, fur coats, nice boots.  As we live across the street from Astana's highest-end mall, the Keruen Centre, we continue to see the high end of Astana fashion and style. Our neighborhood shops include Tiffany, Frette, Hugo Boss, Dunhill, Mont Blanc and more.  Prices are high due to very high customs and import fees, so those who are shopping here are not worried about price - or would rather not fly all the way to Dubai or Moscow to obtain their luxury items.

One sign of wealth to me is the plethora of fur coats around - Kevin pointed out that even in the food court or at the movie theater many women are wearing fur coats. Even at KFC. By far the most common fur coat is mink, but there are many others.  Ethics aside, there are some really stunning fur coats around.  I don't know enough about fur to be able to say the type of animals keeping my new neighbors warm, but the less common range in color from white or very light, to gorgeous copper/mid-brown coats (maybe red fox?).

I had never seen fur vests like I've seen here as well - not the ones that are trendy recently, but long, exotic creations that are worn over formal wear - no street style pics to share, but more along these lines.

Italian designer Simonetta Ravizza poses during a photocall in Moscow October 21, 2010. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

In terms of fashion influences, Moscow seems to be the style capital. Although the wealthy from Central Asia travel to Dubai to shop.  As Kazakhstan develops, there is an interest in nurturing and promoting local design and cultivating a local style.  For instance, a local television personality has opened a store featuring Central Asian designers,

At the other end of the spectrum, in my workplace, my local colleagues so far have worn basically the same thing every day, with a change or two of their shirts, but the same pants/jeans and tops. Although I can't say if this is typical, this has been true for all 3 Kazakhstani staff in my office including two men and one woman.

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