St. Petersburg

Interview with David Wilkinson

09 Apr 2018

Interview with David Wilkinson, Executive Director of the Au Pont Rouge department store.

- In recent years, designers from Russia are in the spotlight of the fashion community: Ulyana Sergeenko, Gosha Rubchinsky or Demna Gvasalia from Soviet Georgia. Do you think this trend will live long?
- It would be difficult to imagine the Fashion landscape of the 21st Century without Gosha, Ulyana or Demna. They have created significant energy within physical and online stores here in Russia; and of course in the global Fashion industry. The trend is set to develop further disruption, irreverence, accessibility.

- This post-Soviet “expansion” even became a cultural phenomenon named New East. Au Pont Rouge can not be imagined without exhibitions or the Hermitage Museum Shop too. Why do you mix retail business and culture?
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Au Pont Rouge is focused upon the development of a contemporary and relevant customer experience; in a city with such a culturally rich background as St Petersburg our customers demand a uniqueness. We like to think that customers can access the Au Pont Rouge brand at many different levels. We therefore provide a stage/platform for brands and partners to create these experiences for our guests. In a sense Au Pont Rouge is the impresario; we populate the stage with entertainment. The Hermitage is a natural partnership for Au Pont Rouge. The leading world Museum and Department Store collaborating. It excites our visitors local, national and international.

- St. Petersburg, by the way, is considered the Cultural Capital. How do you get inspired here?
- St.Petersburg is an outstanding city architecturally, locals walk side by side with national and international visitors so there is a shared energy that can be accessed by all. The fact that the city is surrounded or bordered by water and has excellent connectivity to Moscow, the country and world markets means that there is a constant flux of new concepts and ideas. Food and Beverage is a growing market here and these are often small ventures that deliver exceptional quality v value. The Theatre and Museum
calendar provides opportunity for you to attend exhibits/performances, affordably and frequently. The city is highly entrepreneurial.

- Some say that in our city people are always dressed in all shades of gray. Do you agree?
- Steve Strange wrote a song in the early 1980’s called ‘Fade To Grey’; it was a huge hit on London’s dancefloors- there is a good deal of layered black here in St Petersburg. The colour palette of Rick Owens works well for this city and Au Pont Rouge customers.

- And returning to the beginning of conversation, which Russian brands could you highlight today?
- Gosha Rubchinsky (of course) Walk of Shame, Vika Gazinskaya, Outlaw Moscow, Ienki Ienki , Jenia Kim, Nina Donis, Yulia Kalmanovich.

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