EXTRAVAGANZA 2004: MOSCOW SEES LUXURY ARTICLES

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MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - One of Moscow's VIP hotels was hosting a show of all the best big money could buy-snow-white yachts, villas at posh resorts, and vintage cars British auction houses had to offer, says the Novye Izvestia.

The world's most expensive show had its venue paradoxically close to the Kiev railway terminal square, the drab, Gypsy-infested lair of tramps and job-hunting guest workers. The symbolic geography truly reflected contemporary Russian life, with a majority of the nation living from hand to mouth while scanty moneybags afford fabulous purchases-suffice it to mention tycoon Roman Abramovich, new-fangled proud proprietor of the Chelsea football club.

Britain is long-established leader of the luxury goods and services market. Many items on show in Moscow came from there-tailored suits at a 2,500 pound threshold price, Rolls Royces, Holland & Holland hunting rifles, the world's best and most expensive, and furnished flats to rent in London and neighbouring counties.

Milliners worked on the premises as the show was on. Chefs of a posh Moscow restaurant treated the finicky gathering to roast salmon with French fries. Confectioners made a life-size lady's head of chocolate. The city's top-notch society beauties were crowding the place. Silver-filtered vodka went fine to caviar and boeuf suedois as glamorous models appeared in a defile wearing Janet Reger lingerie. That crowned the day.

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