A Taste of the Luxe Life

When the silver-plated telephone rings in Marina Osadchuk's clothing and beauty boutique, it chirps like a canary. These days it sounds as if a cageful of canaries has been let loose in Osadchuk's store in Moscow. People call constantly to inquire about the handmade suits and dresses, priced at 200 to 700 rubles ($320 to $1,120), or to make appointments to get their hair done for 15 rubles ($24). With 50 customers a day, Osadchuk has more business than she can handle.

Osadchuk's eager clientele largely represents a new class of Soviet consumer: the nouveau riche, of which she is a...

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