Sunday, 11 August 2013

The Russians on the Corner

The New York Times recently ran a slightly odd article about Belgravia:

A Slice of London So Exclusive Even the Owners Are Visitors -

We say odd, as the Grey Lady is generally so meticulous with details, but several were a little "off" in this article.

It was seemingly sourced from self-promoting estate agents, as so many articles on the area are.

This section is the strangest:
Along Elizabeth Street ... A Belgravia resident from Colombia, who was shopping at a pet store where dog beds go for $358 and cat blankets for $289 [i.e. Mungo and Maud], said that there were two English people along her street, and that it was hard to tell whether many of her neighbors were there or not there.
“French, American, Petra Ecclestone” — that would be the daughter of the Formula One impresario Bernie Ecclestone — “and Russians,” said the resident, considering those closest to her. She asked that her name not be used because, she said, she was scared of the Russians on the corner.
We know which block she lives on, and it is a very short one. There may well be a Colombian lady living in one of the few flats there. But she doesn't have a dog, as there are only two ladies with dogs on the block, both English, and ... one other dog, owned by "the Russians on the corner"!

Admittedly, she may have been shopping for her cat, or purchasing a gift for a friend's dog. The article did not state that she was shopping for her dog.

There are in fact two other English people, as well as the two English dog owners, in her building. And Petra Ecclestone is English. So the maths is beginning to look very ... "off" ...?

The killer comment is:
She asked that her name not be used because, she said, she was scared of the Russians on the corner.
The "Russians on the corner" have 'good' security but these, and all their staff, go out of their way to be pleasant to other residents, as inconspicuous as can be. They are low-key and class acts compared to Petra Ecclestone.

Exhibit One.

A very generous and heart-felt endorsement written by Mrs Russian on the Corner, better known as the former model Tatiana Kovylina, for her pilates instructor Clea Mae's web site [Gwynnie also endorsed her]:

She wrote this lovely endorsement of Clea Mae pilates in New York:

"Don’t be deceived by Clea’s angelic appearance. Behind it stands a real professional and a very strong woman who will make you discover your inner potential. She is one of those people who put all their passion and a hundred percent of their energy into their work, in order to achieve great results. She makes this experience so joyful and exciting that you find yourself kind of addicted to her.

I see my body change every day and it’s been an amazing experience. I never thought I could develop so much strength and I considered myself a physically challenged person.

Clea, thank you so much for all the hard work and I always look forward to our next session.
Kazan-born Kovylina, mother of the two younger children in the house, was a model.

She graced catwalks for designers such as Lela Rose SS07
And Oscar de la Renta as recently as Pre-Fall10

Editorial work included many prestigious publications, for example this shoot for Italian Vogue in October 05
The pilates - and their private gym at home (we're heard rumours of a pool) - clearly paid off as this was her return to Victoria's Secret after children.
A number of people from her modelling days have gone out of their way to say how nice Mrs Corner was. And that she read books backstage.

Her off duty style is chic and simple (photo). This is not the over-the-top glitz and kitsch of the first Russian oligarchs to hit London, but the more sophisticated younger generation.

Mr Corner is not as pretty.

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