Playboy Olmeca Club, a promotional party series between Playboy Russia and Olmeca tequila, opened at Bon on March 29. It's not exceptional, not blog-worthy, but Bon is. Last spring, the management team behind unironic, unsubtle club Billionaire -- there was such a thing -- convinced French designer Philippe Starck to design its new, next-door restaurant. Starck, known for tasteful minimalism, turned the place into a freak show with Kalashnikov rifle lamps, taxidermy wearing bling, screaming skulls, mismatched cutlery, indecent frescoes, gold paint splattered on the walls. Also, the food sucks and costs a fortune. But, Moscow punk'd? Moscow called out? Nah.
"Moscow’s is done, admittedly, in the aesthetic of 'rich man with no taste.' Essentially, Bon is New Russian camp. But, if Starck meant to indict Moscow, the joke is on him because the line separating the people enjoying Bon ironically and those enjoying it non-ironically is blurred, or maybe nonexistent."
A. A. Gill disagreed. The irony is so deeply ingrained, it's recognized but not even viewed as a novelty anymore:
"Restaurants in Moscow are hysterically, emphatically, purposefully expensive and gaudy. They’re more gaudy, camp and flash than the Bolshoi Christmas Special. I went to [Bon], designed by Philippe Starck, which had gold Kalashnikov lampstands. If you want the Christmas-cracker wisdom of what the difference is between America and Russia, it’s that America is wholly without irony and Russia is wholly without anything that isn’t an irony. "Here are people at the series opening: anonymous revelers; Masha Tsigal and her homegirl; socialite Ksenia Sobchak; Bosco di Ciliegi buyer Konstantin Andrikopoulos third; and a man with his fly unizipped. Oh dear, I just relaized that's designer Andrei Sharov. Enjoying Bon ironically or non-ironically? We'll never know.
Bon, 4/4 Yakimanskaya Nab., Metro: Polyanka, Tel. 737-8008
Photos: Starck.com, Mainpeople.ru