Rappers Drake and Future collaborated on a joint album last year. In the hit song Jumpman, from that album, the two call “Jumpman, Jumpman, Jumpman” thrice. For whatever reason, I feel attendees of Pitti Uomo called “Gosha, Gosha, Gosha,” on the evening of cult Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy’s show. Like the rap world, the subverted post-Soviet culture surrounding Gosha is similar to the fanfare, the rap culture cloaking Drake and his cohorts. Gosha has been around for nearly ten years, although the media fascination has amplified in the past two. Hailing him ‘fashion’s saviour’, ‘the next Raf’, ‘the best menswear designer of the 00s’. Many comments have been issued by almost every publication known to us.
For Spring 2017 menswear, the Pitti Uomo fashion fair in Florence, Italy invited Gosha to present his collection in the city. “I wanted something wrong. I wanted something connected with Russia. I wanted somewhere where I find myself at home.” A trifecta of interesting ideas pertaining to the show space, Gosha eventually decided upon a “Soviet-looking” tobacco factory. Constructivist architecture was a suitable background for the clothing, which, like the building, focus more on somewhat-nice-looking practicality rather than aesthetics. He partnered with Fila, Kappa and Sergio Tacchini for the collection; the three Italian brands offered the sportswear. Arriving in Italy, the collection was a view of the nation through the eyes of a Russian man. The result was an ode to the country that has adopted him for a season. There was riffs on Italian tailoring, his logo in Cyrillic script placed underneath the Fila label (one of the world’s most recognisable sportswear labels), Italian shoes, representation of post-Soviet youths transposed to Italy.
Youth culture is something Gosha thrives on (like Raf Simons, who also showed at Pitti).The age range of the models extends no further than 25, I’m certain. His fascination with youth results in earthy, raw explorations of masculinity. Expectedly, it’s masculine in the tradition sense of the word, but there’s experimentalist plays on proportion and special attention to utility. It’s a teenager’s dream collection, but adult motifs are found in the well-tailored suiting that punctuated this collection.
Post-Soviet culture meets youth culture is a cultural amalgamation that almost looks how you’d expect it to be: hard-edged, slightly experimental masculine tones. There’s a bleakness to it as well; that stems from the presentation of the work. It’s cold but approachable, understandable and easily adaptable. The reason why everyone’s up in arms about Gosha is because he nails what men want to wear. He covers all angles, from the suit, the tracksuit, gym garb, casual wear. Also, it’s not horrendously overpriced for what you’re getting—it’s fair, in fashion terms. Stylising clothes without losing or fraying their accessibility and functionality is completed with finesse, where Gosha is concerned—his work isn’t overly-reliant on styling.
Where does he go from here? Presumably back to Paris, or to Russia, who knows. Wherever he ends up next he’ll continue creating clothing that men will clamour for, at selected stockists that the brand is carried at. Paris or Russia, his commentary on youth and post-Soviet culture is unmissable, and frankly, I don’t think has the ability to become boring.
Photo Credit: voguerunway.com