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Celebrating Women's Day with Pickles and Fur in Brighton Beach

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Photos by Anna Fischer

Yesterday was International Women's Day, a celebration of the fairer sex—sort of like Mother's Day but not just for moms. To celebrate, a sequined and fur-clad slew of Brooklyn's Russians descended upon a Brighton Beach venue called the Rasputin Restaurant & Cabaret for With Love?A Russian Soirée. Over a deep selection of Eastern European specialties including pickles and other pickled things, salads of every stripe (one was dressed in eel sauce), and lots and lots of vodka, ticket-buyers and invited guests were treated to a bonkers (good bonkers) fur-centric fashion show, a charity auction, and a whole lot of dancing.

Upon arrival, each woman was treated with a long stem rose—nice touch!—and most carried the flowers with them throughout the night. They held on to their coats as well—and why not? These were serious statement coats: Sable, mink and chinchilla. Our favorites: A red fur bolero with a jeweled neckline and a floor-dusting chinchilla we wanted to sleep on. The dresses weren't too shabby either—laser-cut leather, python-print, black chiffon pleating, lots of bling and lots of boob, accessorized by crazy, sky-high stilettos and platforms (the patrons had a lot less trouble walking than the models). On the men: Print shirts by, we're guessing, Versace and Moschino, shiny suiting, and a gray jacquard blazer with a subtle lace print we would've tried to run off with if it was a bit closer to our size.

Then there was the fashion show, which featured neon green fur, dip-dyed fur, animal-print fur, fur pullover anoraks, fur stoles and shawls, fur dresses, a fur-embellished wedding gown and other items PETA wouldn't be happy with (including a leather top), all by Pologeorgis Fur, with clothing from a litany of emerging European designers. We kind of wanted most of it.

The proceedings were hosted by Michael and Marina Levitis, the owners of Rasputin, as well as Tobi Rubinstein Schneier, founder of a clothing line called the House of Faith N Fashion. (We're pretty sure no individual items in any of the at least four complete outfit changes Rubinstein went through were of her own design, though we did recognize some Chanel).

The auction—featuring dinner for ten and a bottle of Cristal at Rasputin, a Michael Kors fur chubby in that glorious neon green, jewelry, handbags, styling consultations—benefited OR Movement, a group working to develop Israel. Following the auction, the dance floor was packed as a deejay played party-hardy club classics (Robin S. and CeCe Peniston, anyone?) before the Rasputin Band performed.

We were seated in sort of a dank little corner (or, if you're feeling optimistic, a serene enchanted grotto) with the rest of the press people: Photographers, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, and George Wayne—the kook who mistook a Swarovski crystal in Kelly Cutrone's open palm for something pharmaceutical on an early episode of Kell on Earth. He referred to the lot of us as "ink-stained hags," ordered a personal bottle of champagne on ice and a pitcher of orange juice so that he could make himself mimosas, and made it clear that he was not super-psyched to be stuck in the ass-end of Brooklyn—gracious!

A final note: Say what you will of gold-bedecked, fur-obsessed Eastern Europeans. The crowd last night really knew how to dress evening in a way that makes the standard New York skinny jeans or contemporary cotton party dress cocktail uniform seem sad and amateurish. It's inspiring, and mood-elevating, and makes us want tons and tons of Dolce & Gabbana and Etro and Givenchy.

A final, final note: Don't try to keep up with a roomful of celebrating Russians. It doesn't feel good the next day.
· Rasputin Restaurant & Cabaret [Official Site]
· OR Movement [Official Site]

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