Moscow is a city riding high on oil money. Now the spending habits of high-rolling Muscovites have spawned some of Europe's coolest clubs and most lavish restaurants. The owner of Turandot , for instance, former painter and restorer Andrei Dellos, spent $50 million on interior design; it's the most expensively decorated restaurant in the world.
Nearly 500 artists--including set designers from the Bolshoi theater--worked to create a faux 18th-century chinoiserie fantasy. The food is truly innovative--try the langoustine dim sum and venison vol-au-vent --and the wine list puts many Parisian establishments to shame (26/5 Tverskoi Bulvar, 7495-739-0011).
The superstylish Tretyakov Lounge, with a lovely summer terrace, serves reinvented French food by chef David Desseaux. Irresistible dishes include foie gras with wild mushrooms and truffle-infused goat cheese (1 Tretyakovsky Proyezd, 7495-771-7295). Cippolino , a stylish basement lounge with deep velvet armchairs, serves innovative French-Asian fare, including delectable lobster and coconut soup and a slow-roasted lamb brisket (Soimonovsky Proyezd 7/1. 291 65 76, 202 92 27).
But our favorite new Moscow hangout is Gazgolder , a laid-back lounge in an old factory complex where bare brick walls are set off, Philippe Starck style, by giant Venetian chandeliers and overstuffed carved armchairs. The look is military-surplus Prada or Brioni suits without ties (Nizniy Susalny pereulok 5/2, phone unlisted).
Jewelry: The Look Of Links
Chains, in all shapes, sizes and colors, are the accent popping up this spring. We love David Yurman's silver and gold oval-link chain necklace ($1,000) and gold, oval chain-link necklace ($4,370)--as well as the stunningly delicate multirow box-chain bracelet ($4,300). Slinky chain belts like Chanel's metal jewelry belt with its trademark medallion ($1,240; chanel.com ) add glamour to any outfit. Burberry's black leather handbag with embossed check design features an adjustable brass chain shoulder strap ($495; burberry.com ). And Gucci's cruise collection includes leather ankle-strap sandals accented with gold chains ($495; gucci.com ).
Style: The Dry Season
This year the fashion-conscious can weather the rainy season in style. Dazzling, customized umbrellas are the new "it" accessory. Hand-painted and bejeweled or in bold psychedelic colors; made of faux leather or lightweight nylon, there is a brolly to suit every taste and outfit. You can find one with a highly arched canopy and polished wooden handle or a black satin exterior and bright floral interior. Why wait for May flowers?
4 Hours in . . . Berlin
Finished your business meetings but got a few hours to kill? Here's where to go when you're at loose ends.
EAT plate-size veal schnitzel at Borchardt, Berlin's most buzzing bistro (Franzosische Strasse 47; open 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.).
STROLL through the hauntingly beautiful Weissensee cemetery, Europe's largest Jewish graveyard (Herbert-Baum-Strasse 45 in Weissensee district; open 8 to 5 Sunday through Thursday, 8 to 3 on Friday).
SWIM at the Grand Hyatt's deluxe top-floor pool with a panoramic view of Berlin's monuments (Marlene Dietrich-Platz 2, 49-30-2553-1234).
SEE the dreamy masterpieces of Germany's 19th-century romantic painters on the second floor of the restored Old National Gallery (Museum Island; 10 to 6, Tuesday through Sunday).
BUY a teddy bear from the flagship store of the company that invented them in 1902, Steiff (Kurfurstendamm 220 in Charlottenburg district).
Hot Spot: L'arolay: Val-d'Isere, France
Skiers who've spent all day schussing down the slopes crave the kind of full-bodied vin and hearty fare served here.
Ambience Wood paneling and exposed beams--combined with bubbling fondue pots--give it a cozy warmth.
Starters The terrine of pork, served with toasted bread, is amazing; the mountain sausages come piled high on the plate. And the sizzling escargots de Bourgogne are seasoned to perfection with garlic.
Best Dishes Indulge in the sumptuous tartiflette--a steaming plate of ham, potatoes and creme fraiche mixed with Reblochon cheese. Or the round of raclette, heated until it melts, and served with gherkins, potatoes and dried meats.
Wine List Not surprisingly, the list is mostly French--both the Mondeuse Chignin and Chateau de Ripaille are excellent.