As part of Hugo Boss’ tour of the global capitals of Formula One's host countries, we find ourselves surrounded by the arresting architecture and cultural and political majesty of Moscow. In a prelude to the Grand Prix at Sochi, Lewis Hamilton was guided through the eclectic delights – traditional and avant-garde – of the Russian capital by Lena Perminova, supermodel and owner of an online charity fund.
1. Behind the scenes at the Meyerhold Centre
Dance has always occupied a central place in Russian performing arts, for which the impossibly lithe and graceful ballerinas of the Bolshoi have become a shorthand. But there is also a contemporary dimension to this pre-eminence, captured in The Territory, a festival of modern dance, hosted at the Meyerhold Centre on Novoslobodskaya in the cultural heart of the city.
With their very own viewing at the Meyerhold, Lewis and Lena explore this historic venue before a private performance by one of The Territory’s headline acts, Ballet Moscow, with their fusion production that splices contemporary ballet philosophy with modern dance choreography.
“That was immensely physical,” says Lewis after the performance, “and the control the dancers demonstrated was amazing. Witnessing this at first hand today has really highlighted for me the parallels between art and sport and I have nothing but respect for the dancers’ prowess.”
2. A stroll through Gorky Park
Celebrated in film and mentioned in the same breath as Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London, the green spaces of Gorky that give Muscovites respite from the bustle of the city is the perfect location for Lena to share her observations of Russian life, culture and society with Lewis.
Having recently undergone extensive landscaping, the park has been re-embraced by the city’s inhabitants and all expressions of civic life – from sport, to arts and recreation – are witnessed as Lewis and Lena traverse the green expanse by Segway and discuss life and everything in today’s Russia.
“Gorky Park is somewhere you can really get under the skin of the city and grab a glance of the daily lives of Moscow’s residents,” says Lewis.” And chatting with Lena, I think I have a much better sense of what it is like to live in Russia.”
3. Russian Cuisine at the White Rabbit
Nestled under a glass dome on the 16th floor of Smolenskiy Passage, the White Rabbit is officially listed in the world’s greatest 25 restaurants and provided just the waypoint for Lewis and Lena before arriving at the Kuznetsky Most Hugo Boss store at the end of their tour of one of the world’s greatest cities. With views over the onion domes of old Moscow, the White Rabbit elegantly blends contemporary Russian gastronomy with its cultural underpinnings, with chef Vladimir Mukhin’s inspiring cuisine set in the context of a colorful tapestry of velvet upholstery.
“As soon as you walk through the door, you get an immediate sense that you are somewhere very different, very cool. And my instincts were absolutely right when Lena and I started to sample Vladimir’s magic, some great flavors and tastes that have given me another sensory dimension to Moscow,” says Lewis.