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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Drapes to Die For, Hang the Expense

ussian curtains have often been considered the cloth equivalent of Russian wallpaper, the bane of many expat apartment dwellers who would gladly trade in their loud patterns and odd materials for white walls and a simpler, more elegant look. One look at the curtains on display on the first aisle of the ground floor of GUM does not do much to raise your spirits. Synthetic, shimmering fabrics in improbable colors such as silver, lavender or forest green, in equally improbable textures -- furry velours or see-through polyester -- are not likely to suit western tastes. Even Russians seem to be tiring of these interior decoration offerings. But on that very same aisle, a shop selling an unusual combination of merchandise, including water filters and lingerie, is now also selling some of the most interesting curtains to be found in Moscow. The new French store is called Borido -- a play on the words beau rideau ("pretty curtain") -- and has a wide variety of imported curtains and all the matching accessories needed to create an attractive window. With a large selection of ready-made curtains in different fabrics and patterns, Borido is selling the custom-made look that can be fitted in just one day. "An ugly apartment can be transformed instantly," said a company representative. "And Borido items are especially good for people who are lazy." Curtains are manufactured without a hem and can be shortened accordingly. For the particulary lazy, the hems are unfrayed and can be left as they are. It is also possible to iron on a hem without having to do any sewing at all with a special thermo collant, or iron-on tape, which is also on sale. Linings can be purchased and hung separately by simply hooking them up behind the over-curtains. Borido has already marketed itself successfully in Europe with the brand name "L'affaire des Doubles Rideaux," which suggests pairing solid colored linings with patterned drapes. "Black-out" curtains and sheer voilage, or glass curtains, are also available by the meter, as are the more spectacular and perennially popular Austrian Blinds, or festoons, in the fabric of your choice. All the required embellishments are also easily obtainable. Satin cable tie-backs, with or without tassels, lend any drapes a rich, stylish look, and are on sale for upwards of $20. Three-meter-long curtain rails go for approximately $100 and include rings and fixtures. Brass, wooden or plastic rings can be bought separately, as well as the necessary hooks. However, while they are extremely versatile, Borido curtains are not cheap. The least expensive is the moire curtain which comes in solid pale colors for $76 per curtain. The most expensive is the "Fleurus" pattern for $250, a heavier fabric with a dark floral pattern. Meanwhile the "Farnese Beige," a brocade look-alike, is selling rapidly at $155 per curtain. It is also possible to buy fabric by the linear meter. Instant transformation is not just reserved for window hangings. While you're about it, an old couch can be given an instant facelift with Houss' Up, a puffy slip cover that comes in a range of fabrics to match the curtains and costs approximately $250, depending on the fabric. Couch cushions in matching fabrics cost about $17. Unsightly plastic flower pots can be transformed with a miniature cover for about $10. Chair covers for $12 are available in different floral patterns. And bedspreads in fabrics complementing the curtains range from $115 to $250. With glossy catalogues and fabric swatches on display, it is also possible to order any items not stocked in the store. Borido had hoped to keep as much as possible of its merchandise in stock, the representative said, but when the store opened at the beginning of June, business took off so quickly that they had nearly sold out in just four days. Borido is located on the first aisle on the ground floor of GUM and is open seven days a week from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. Prices are the ruble equivalent of dollar listings; rubles and credit cards accepted. Tel. 929-3461.