Two comrades capitalize on the fall of communism

January 06, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

Maybe you'll never know the pleasure of a KGB interrogation but thanks to the fall of communism, you can now walk about freely in a genuine Soviet military coat, if you so desire. Russian Dressing, a New York catalog launched four years ago, features a plethora of goods from the former Soviet Union, including military wares, officer's sunglasses and, for the little ones, a Kremlin Stacking Tower.

Company founder Doug Platt, a former news correspondent in Bangkok, started the business with a $500 profit garnered from peddling T-shirts on the streets of New York with a group of friends. The shirts depicted Edvard Munch's famous painting, "The Scream," done up in a Dan Quayle motif.

The original catalog featured all sorts of Soviet goods culled from importers in New York; the famous Russian Matryoshka (nesting dolls), antique rubles, beautifully carved chess sets.

Mr. Platt and his partner, Sydney Herman, then decided to add another dimension to Russian Dressing, one that gave customers the chance to visit, metaphorically, with people in different parts of the world.

The result is a double-edged catalog of goods, half Russian Dressing, half The Daily Planet, which features clothing and gifts from around the world. Both sections offer a variety of hard-to-find ethnic items, including Nigerian "talking" drums, Tibetan Good Luck jewelry and Afghani tribal dresses.

To obtain a catalog, call (800) 762-2240.

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