Estee Lauder Opens Moscow Boutique

From Reuters

Hundreds of Soviet women jammed a newly opened boutique on Moscow’s busiest shopping street today and began shelling out up to half a month’s salary in unfashionable rubles for trendy Western cosmetics and perfumes.

A beaming Nanuli Shevardnadze, whose husband, Eduard, is foreign minister, told reporters at the champagne ceremony launching the Estee Lauder shop: “This is a very happy day for Soviet women.”

Lidiya Zaikov, wife of Moscow’s Communist Party chief, nodded enthusiastically as Estee Lauder told her: “All the prices here are the same as in New York.”


Following the formal opening, hundreds of Soviet women flocked in from Gorky Street to plunk down as much as half a month’s wages for a bottle of the latest fragrance from the house of Estee Lauder.

Police set up barriers and closed a subway entrance to keep back crowds, mainly heavily made-up young women waiting patiently for their turn to enter Moscow’s first shop selling a wide range of Western cosmetics for Soviet rubles.

“It’s high time someone opened a shop like this,” said Anastasia Nechayeva, 19, a research assistant. “At these prices I couldn’t come every week, but it is certainly a lot better than having to look around for cosmetics through friends and acquaintances.”

Assistants were overwhelmed at counters selling small bottles of perfume for 80 to 120 rubles.

Young women at counters selling conventional Soviet beauty products at one-fifth of the price stood idle.

Asked if she planned to use the store’s products, Nanuli Shevardnadze retorted: “I’ve used them for four years since I first went to New York.”