London’s collections were all about diversity (Casely-Hayford, Wales Bonner) and edginess (J.W. Anderson). However, Pitti Uomo in Florence started with a much more realistic approach by this year’s guest designer and a Comme des Garçons protegé, Gosha Rubchinskiy. This Russian designer, who’s obsessed with Russian youth culture, is a street wear favourite for years, with his cyrillic slogans on sweatshirts and Reebok collaborations. But this season, the direction changed, just like the city in which the designer presented his menswear collection. Still oozing with a street-wise attitude of a post-Soviet bloc skater, Gosha looked further for inspiration and found a connection between his signature style, Italian 90s mega-brands and the controversial director, Pier Paolo Pasolini.
For the show, street-casted models stormed the runway set in a former tobacco factory, abandoned 15 years ago, and the setting was a key connection between Tuscany’s capital and socrealist fascinations. Gosha’s long-time friend and stylist, Lotta Volkova, said that the factory was “the only Soviet-looking building in Florence“. Feel like home, then. Moreover, these geek brands that invaded Europe and Moscow’s streets later on – Kappa and Fila – unsurprisingly appealed to Rubchinskiy. Firstly, it was once everyone’s dream to have a Fila logo on his or her chest, and that’s a distinct memory for the designer himself; secondly, this 2000-era thing for sportswear as daily wardrobe strongly matches Rubchinskiy’s aesthetics. Another Italian factor in this collection was Pasolini, whose sexually defiant films, like Teorema or Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom, play an important role in envisioning spring-summer 2017 guy. Even a short film directed by Renata Litvinova was created for this occasion, dedicated “To Pier Paolo.” Pasolini, a communist (weak point for Russia-loving designer), intended to show deviant view on both men and women – so, no wonder why there was something disturbing about the first two, bald-headed boys, wearing pin-stripe suits without a shirt under. Mafioso vibes, quite aggressive – note the chains on their necks and wrists. They could star in Pier Paolo’s film for sure – as Italian murders, maybe?
Definitely, Italian culture and Soviet youth are not your average, fashion combination. The designer brought the unexpected, with new silhouettes. Reviving Pasolini’s art and the old-good logomania (Kappa girls were literally placed everywhere here) helped developing Rubchinskiy’s boyish look. And that’s good for him – surely, he won’t fall into monotony of sweatpants and Instagram-beloved meaning of the word “hype”.