The Sunday Styles section of yesterday's New York Times ran a coverstory by Natasha Singer, New Slavs of New York: All Bling and No Borscht, describing the recent raise in the profile of Russians in the city. In fact, the paper sees Slavs in New York as the latest craze: "From fashion to film, from art to sports, New York is having a Slavic moment."
The article highlights Russian tennis players at the US Open, Russian and Ukrainian models at Fashion Week, the Russia! show on now at the Guggenheim, Slavic accents in the top fall fashion lines...
According to Diane von Furstenberg ("whose father was born in Czarist Russia," the Times points out), "New Yorkers love Russians because they're just like us. They have so much energy and thirst and the desire to make things happen."
The Times also points out the recent success of Gypsy Bordello frontman and Mehanata house DJ turned Everything is Illuminated movie star Eugene Hütz, a Ukrainian.
But the paper also points out that this Slavic wave is hardly a unified front. Many of its stars, such as fashion designer Alexandre Plokhov and real estate developer Janna Bullock, refuse any connection to their ethinc communities. Conversely, a number of Russian millionaires are very active in trying to promote Russia in the United States, through events such as the Guggenheim's Russia! exhibition.
Looking forward, the Times article ends by pointing out that two siblings from Tajikistan, Andre and Angela Izrailov, are about to open a Russian banya/spa called Okeanos on East 51st Street, complete with Petrossian caviar, and the White Box Gallery on 26st Street is planning an exhibit of contemporary Russian art.
(Photo: Mary Altaffer/Associated Press/Inset, Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times, A Diane von Furstenberg design, top, and President Vladimir V. Putin.)