A beautiful, Russian tale was told at Ulyana Sergeenko‘s autumn-winter 2017 haute couture show. The brand is known for its ultra-focus on traditional, slowly dying craftsmanship coming straight from Russia – take the Yelets and Vologda lace techniques, which make Sergeenko’s lady-like dresses look truly one-of-a-kind. The collection orbited around two themes. One was especially intimate for the designer herself – it was a photo of Ulyana Sergeenko’s grandmother taken 64 years ago in eastern Kazakhstan, wearing a black dress with white-collar. Ulyana dedicated the collection to her beloved grandmothers – Sonya, Nina and Zina – making her lucky clients feel the love embedded in these intricate embroideries. The other, darker side of this collection was inspired by Old Holywood’s elegance and Soviet crime stories feauturing spies and gangsters – the all-black looks had something sexy badass about them (for a reason). Fancy, very femme fatale fur coats are here, too.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki (backdrop: a still from Renata Litvinova’s ‘Rita’s Last Fairy-Tale’).
During men’s fashion month, Florence’ Pitti Uomo and Milan are the sure go-to destinations after London. However, the new-gen designers coming from the former Soviet Union are here to break fashion’s conventions. Gosha Rubchinskiy, skater-loving photographer and designer from the bloc, used to present his collections in Paris; for spring-summer 2017 he took us to Italy; and for autumn-winter 2017, he invited a couple of key editors and buyers to Kaliningrad. If someone’s unsure about the geographical position of the show’s location, that’s the capital of Russian province divided by Lithuania and Poland.
While Soccer World Cup 2018 is taking place here, Rubchinskiy had a perfect reason to take the industry to this rather off-fashion’s-radar place. Now, streetwear fanatics, prepare for jaw-dropping news: Gosha presented his Adidas Football collaboration, which is purely symbolic in regards of the country’s Cold War-era black market history, and Russian’s football team gear. The collaboration consists of pieces ranging from football shirts to hoodies and accessories, all baring the world ‘football’ in Cyrillic script. The clothes were styled in a classical, Gosha way – skate-fit sportswear, boy-from-the-hood tracksuits and ironically masculine suits. Synthetic-white sneakers and a blue shirt – Russian guy look from the 90s, just like the geometric, post-modern prints on the slouchy knits. So, are you in the team?
Cпаси и Cохрани. “Save and defend“. If the menswear fashion month wasn’t depressive enough (take Prada’s response towards migrants and Rick Owens’ apocalyptic vision of the world), then Gosha Rubchinskiy delivered us a dose of sweatshirts with Cyrillic signs, which aren’t too optimistic in their meaning either. In Orthodox religion, “save and defend” is a caption which accompanies nearly every icon – they are meant to protect an individual from different oppressions. However, in Gosha’s collection, the sweatshirts were more like direct messages to the world – which might, or might not refer to Soviet nations (specifically Russia), which suffer from political and economic crisis. Traditionally, Rubchinskiy sent the runway with street-cast boys, who had the “I don’t care it’s a fashion show” look in their eyes. The Russian designer is known for his raw and extremely off-duty style – the Tam-Tam Club, a St. Petersburg nightclub from the 90s built-in a former Communist Youth building, is what Gosha mentioned as a place he recalls the closest to autumn-winter 2016 attitude. If talking of the clothes, we all know the signatures – the Гоша Рубчинский (translates into Gosha Rubchinskiy, of course) tops, yellow sweatpants and over-sized, slightly tattered biker jackets phreshed off the runway. In other words, the idea which begun the Gosha Rubchinskiy cult hasn’t changed much. Surely, the designer’s loyal followers will fall in love with these looks.
Gosha Rubchinkiy is the guy from Moscow, who brings on the nostalgic ideas of post-soviet Russia and its “fashion”. Soviet sportswear and Iron Curtain era was mentioned in the collection, too, by presenting the infamous symbols and dates on shirts and t-shirts. The silhouettes of jumpers were inspired by Eastern-bloc athletes (all the Russian flag colours) and the short shorts would be perfect for PE classes. Even the venue had something to do with sports – the oldest basketball gym of France was the venue of the show. But the overall effect of this collection seems to be the same as usually in case of Gosha – strong homage to his homeland and a kind of irony perceived in the air toward’s Russia today.
After Walter Van Beirendock, Gosh Rubchinskiy is the second designer of the day which brings politics to fashion. This time, we leave Paris and we go to Putin’s Russia, where everything’s strongly connected with Chinese market. Presented in an old Orthodox church, the models wore SPORT sweatshirts, “ugly” white socks and soviet-Russia inspired fur varsity jackets.This entertaining collection saw street-cast models—some as young as 13—transformed into brand-hungry Russian youths of the immediate post-glasnost years, as seen through a Rubchinskiy prism. That’s amazing how Gosha found a way to critisize Putin’s political influenece in today’s Russia. Definitely, if Rubchinskiy presented his collection in Moscow, the next day he would sit in jail – the parody and sense of the whole thing seems to be very visible.