Moscow unveiled through glamour, snowy spectacles 

I  often daydream about a life of endless jet-setting. I love to travel and experience new parts and people of the world. So, when I received an invitation to attend the BRICS+ Fashion Summit in Moscow, Russia, I got to passport dusting and travel bag selection. 

I was hesitant at first, because of all the news reports about the ongoing war, and this was further escalated by my father who immediately broke into prayer when I told him I was travelling there for work. But I was more than excited, to say the least. 

I set off on November 27, 2023 aboard Turkish Airways.  It was a seven-hour flight with a brief layover at Istanbul Airport before landing at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow. Stepping into the chilly -5°C weather which my manager Barbara Prischchepa had warned me about, welcomed me like a bracing slap.

The journey to the hotel unfolded as a captivating introduction to Moscow’s architectural splendour. Against the backdrop of the iconic Moscow Kremlin, a fortified complex resonating with history, the city embraced me. 

At the hotel
We then took a 30-minutes’ drive into the city to the Four Seasons Hotel, which was going to be our home for the next five days. You do not know luxury until you have stepped into the lobby at this hotel. Decked out with icy-themed Christmas set-ups, the place was accentuated with the warm smiles of the staff.  Located on Ulitsa Okhotnyy Ryad, Moskva boasts 180 rooms and suites and is nestled strategically between the Red Square and the Bolshoi Theatre.

One thing you will need while in Moscow is someone who speaks Russian, something the summit team took into consideration and assigned handlers to each one of us. While English is used in some parts of the city, the majority speak Russian. If you do not speak the language, you will struggle to find your way around in restaurants, on the streets and on the metro. The latter, for instance, made stop-over announcements in Russian. Imagine what it was like for someone like myself, amplifying the value of our appointed guides. 

Excursions and galleries
While most of the activities were themed around the fashion showcases, TED Talks, runway shows and parties at the end of the day, the summit organisers curated excursions exploring Moscow’s cultural gems. I was fortunate  to go to an excursion to the Museum of Modern Art and an immersive tour of the “Russia” exhibition, capturing the nation’s culture, fashion, and technology.

Located near Petrovsky Boulevard, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art dazzled with almost 200,000 works from across the globe. As we navigated the city, the ancient architectural dreams of Moscow materialised in every snow-kissed building, each narrating a tale that transcended time. 

Just outside the Four Seasons hotel, you are welcomed by the view of the Red Square and Kremlin Palace. As we walked to the Zaryadye Park Concert Hall where most summit activities were happening, we saw Saint Basil’s Cathedral, a colourful structure that houses nine chapels and is one of the city’s must-see places. 

Culinary journey in the snowy city
No travel experience is complete without culinary escapades, and Moscow was no exception. With my love for food, I savoured delicious meals at various locations, including the seafood haven, Magadan Restaurant which served possibly the best pumpkin soup I have ever tasted. While we had to alternate our meal locations, I kept tricking my guide into sending me back to Magadan, just for that soup. Other food locations included Valenok Restaurant and Vysota. 

The highlight however, unfolded at the BRICS+ Fashion Summit Gala Dinner hosted at the Four Seasons Hotel. In the evening glamour featuring a four-course meal and a Russian folklore spectacle, networking opportunities overflowed. The Gala presented a platform to showcase my Ugandan-made  outfit and share the essence of the Pearl of Africa.
 I also got to sit on the front row at an international fashion show, so let’s just say a lot of bucket list ticking happened when I got back.

Quick notes
Moscow, with its snowy charm and cultural treasures, has imprinted an unforgettable mark on my adventurous soul. 
I cannot thank BRICS+ Fashion Summit team enough for having me. I met  phenomenal people including Alexander Shumsky the president of the Russian Fashion Council and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, Dzholokhava who was the press coordinator for the summit, Viwe Ndongeni, the editor-in-chief at Bona Magazine, and Hai Yen, the managing editor at L’officiel Vietnam
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