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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Top Store Makes Everyone a Star on Moscow's Catwalk

Foreign women who come to Moscow are sometimes of the unfortunate mindset that this is not the place to be sporting finery and tend to sacrifice elegance for the sake of practicality.

But Russian women think otherwise and like to flaunt their good taste. The Sandra Star store on Tverskaya Ulitsa, where the majority of the clientele is Russian, showcases the latest trend of emerging Russian elegance -- top-of-the-line European merchandise.

The unchanging window decor of gold stars and mannequins sitting on top of cassette players is not exactly aesthetic, but true to the nature of the Russian store, Sandra Star is a slightly unusual place. One section of the store is devoted entirely to electronic goods, while the other is an emporium of civilized women's clothing and accessories.

Boasting the exclusive German line of Caren Pfleger apparel, which is characterized by its understated elegance as well as its price tag, the choice of clothing includes everything from blazers and suits to a substantial range of blouses. Well-cut linen blazers in pleasing shades of pastel reach slightly beyond the $1,000 mark. An extremely good-looking pullover goes for around $550 and a sheer camisole in a dark, interesting pattern is in the $200 range.

Also featured are attractive slacks, skirts and blouses of Italian origin for somewhere between $500 and $600. Evening wear by Renzo and Claire, both Italian, is slightly more flamboyant and consists of heavily sequined blazers, bolero jackets and vests all priced in the $2,000 range.

The most reasonable items in stock are the undergarments, nightgowns and robes which are supplied primarily by the Austrian firm Palmers. Hundred percent cotton underwear sets range from $34 to $100, depending on the amount of lace. Terry-cloth robes cost around $166 dollars, while the more frilly ones cost about $290. Rather lovely but simple and well-made Italian shoes cost $350 dollars. The slightly cheaper variety represented by yet another well-known Austrian manufacturer, H?gl, are nondescript, not very fashionable and cost between $150 and $160.

Sandra Star also boasts a complete range of accessories, with Dupont, Montblanc and Shaeffer writing instruments and cigarette lighters elegantly displayed. Lighters start at $300 and range upwards of $600, depending on sleekness. Leather goods from Pierre Balmain, duly staid and perfectly manufactured, include wallets, attache cases, handbags and carry-on bags. Some Austrian manicure sets are nicely priced at under $100.

A number of perfumes -- Chanel, Obsession, Issey Miyake, Jil Sander -- and the cosmetics of Christian Dior and Lanc™me are also readily available. The staff is on hand to advise on all beauty questions.

Sandra Starchenka -- after whom the store is named -- and her businessman husband own both this store and nearby Bakalowitz. They travel regularly to Europe and carefully select the newest goods to be sold in Moscow.

But of the prevailing conservatism, Alexander Bolukin, sales manager at Sandra Star, stresses that no store in Moscow offers what his does.

"We are presenting the fashions of tomorrow," Bolukin says. "They are not just conservative, but first class."

Sandra Star is located at 25-27 Pervaya Tverskaya Yamskaya Ulitsa, and is open Monday to Saturday from 10 A.M. to 7 P.M. Prices in dollars, payment in rubles or by credit card. Tel: 299-5595. Nearest metro: Mayakovskaya.