Tsum is one of the most renowned department stores in Russia. Situated in the heart of Moscow next to the Bolshoi Theatre, it is one of the most important fashion destinations in the city, stocking a wide variety of the world’s leading brands. It also offers a number of food and drink options. We take a look at the history of this amazing space and how it became the must-visit shopping destination it is today
Tsum’s history dates back to 1857, when Scottish merchants Andrew Muir and Archibald Mirrielees established the Muir & Mirrielees trading company in Saint Petersburg. In the 1880s, the company made the move to Moscow, acquiring a building in Teatralnaya Square to house its haberdashery shop.
In 1908, Muir & Mirrielees moved to a new location in the square. The striking building was designed by famous Russian architect Roman Klein in the Gothic Revival style – though with modern touches – and is where Tsum can still be found today.
Muir & Mirrielees was the first department store in Russia and the wealthiest and most important citizens were delighted with the space, which offered clothes, shoes, jewellery, perfumes, toys and more, all under one roof. It became something of a symbol of the wealth and success of Moscow itself.
Muir & Mirrielees was renamed MosTorg in 1922 before later being rebranded as Tsum. Over the years, the building has undergone many renovations, preserving the charm of its historic façade while updating it to fully meet the needs of the modern consumer. 110 years after opening its doors, the Tsum building remains one of the most important stores in the Russian capital, and the largest department store in Eastern Europe.
Today, visitors come from around the world to explore Tsum’s unrivalled selection of luxury brands, which comprises the top names from international high-end fashion, including Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, Valentino, Stella McCartney and Missoni. There are also areas dedicated to contemporary brands such as Acne Studios, Sandro and Carven.
Tsum often hosts events to celebrate the launch of new collections, from presentations by new brands to fashion shows and press conferences. Many designers will even visit the store to personally present their new offerings to clients and previous guests have included Roland Mouret and Victoria Beckham. Tsum doesn’t just hold fashion events, however. The department store often gets involved in important Russian cultural events, art lectures and has proved a popular modern exhibition space – the Tsum Art Foundation has supported exhibitions by contemporary artists including Oleg Kulik and Yoko Ono.
Alongside fashion and accessories, the department store offers a wide variety of beauty products and cosmetics from leading brands, including Tom Ford Beauty, Frederic Malle, Chantecaille, La Mer and Memo.
Besides offering the best labels, Tsum is loved by discerning visitors for its absolute commitment to customer service. Expert staff – fluent in Chinese and English – are always on hand to help with anything you need and the store also offers a number of special services, including VIP shopping with professional stylists and unique beauty treatments, as well as a great loyalty programme.
Of course, a long day’s shopping requires delicious refreshments and Tsum is not short of options. The fourth-floor café is the perfect spot for breakfast – we recommend the wheat pancakes with eggs and salmon caviar. For lunch, look out for the juicy house burger or a variety of pasta dishes. It’s also famous for its Napoleon cake, made with condensed milk and honey, and served with sour cream and walnuts. The café is known as one of the best brunch spots in Moscow.
The second floor is home to a more formal restaurant that’s perfect for a business lunch or evening meal. Chef George Denisenkov uses the latest culinary trends and the freshest seasonal produce to create delicious dishes that interpret Japanese, Italian and Russian cuisines. The warm crab salad and the ravioli are particular highlights, as is the sushi, which you can see being made in the open kitchen.
Foodies should head to the basement floor to discover Tsum’s Globus Gourmet, a celebration of all things gastronomical. The department is somewhere between a market and a restaurant, and visitors can pick up fresh produce, ready-to-eat food and semi-cooked dishes, all made to the standard of a top restaurant. The delicatessen offers the best foods from around the world and menus at the café and bar are similarly international in flavour, aiming to take you on a gourmet global journey. The traditional-style Russian café is known for its excellent selection of teas and coffees, as well as home-made sweets, cookies, cakes, pies and pastries.
Caviar is a speciality at Globus Gourmet and you simply cannot come to Russia without sampling the delicacy. There is a room dedicated to all manner of delicious caviar and the sheer variety has to be seen to be believed.
With all this under one roof, it’s no wonder Tsum is among the most loved retail destinations, not just of discerning Russians but also of visitors to Moscow.