Gosha Rubchinskiy's Skinheads and Punks at Paris Menswear AW16

This season saw Gosha Rubchinskiy move away from staples more associated with sportswear, in what would be his most mature collection to date. After last season's venue being an old sports hall, it was the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, a beautiful, decaying venue in the north of Paris - the perfect setting again for Gosha, given the fact the title of the collection was "Save and Survive", a classic idiom in orthodox Russia. The venue, established in 1876 and in it's first decade alone had no fewer than artistic directors, spent the last Century under the ownership of many different people, none of whom could afford the necessary maintenance to keep it open. Yet it remains - a little broken and torn, it's gilt faded, chandeliers missing but still, surviving.

Cпаси и Cохрани. "Save and Survive" was the graphic message written across invites, tees and sweatshirts, but it was also something Gosha said he wanted to impart to the generation that follows his everything. Something that was symbolised by his cult following and by his gang of youthful, street-cast boys discovered on Instagram and flown to Paris from all corners of the globe to walk in his show. That and his name Гоша Рубчинский if you read the classic orthodox Cyrillic font, also featured on garments as it has done in the past. It looked cool on the braces too. With an audience seated on the theatre's stage as oppose to in the stalls, as models appeared through a cloud of smoke, with hair shaved into close buzzcuts and dyed in a variety of colours (printing colours in fact: cyan, magenta and yellow). They wore garments that riffed on a plethora of subcultural references ranging from punks, skate-culture and skinheads. Like the silhouettes Rubchinskiy said hung out at the TaMtAm club in St. Petersburg in the early 90's. From rave culture to the graphic artist responsible for many of Soviet Russia's most iconic imagery, Alexander Rodchenko, Gosha has always had an element of cultural archiving present in his work. Gosha often thinks back to his formative years growing up in Russia - in fact he's obsessed with it, his own and that of others. It drives him.

The collection on a whole may have moved away from the sportswear aesthetic, but thats not to say it didn't feature any of the designers signature pieces. Like the oversized leather jackets for example or the tracksuit pants, that were pulled almost awkwardly high, hoodies were at times tucked in and tees were printed with his name like I mentioned. They're the easiest way to buy into the brand. However, this season Gosha Rubchinskiy got a little more experimental with his cut. As you can sort of see on the image above, sleeves on sweatshirts and lumberjack shirts had two cuffs cut out of them and it was styled in a way that models worn them with their hands through the upper hole, so the remaining fabric left over from the sleeve hung below. It had a really angsty teen feel to it. It was really beautiful. Let's go back to styling for a second, his show is styled by Lotta Volkova, the coolest stylist in the world right now (she also styles Vetements). This brings me onto my next point, Demna Gvasalia, Creative Director of design collective Vetements and as of October last year Balenciaga too, he was sat front row showing his support (Gosha opened Vetements' Spring Summer 2016 show). Also seated on the front row was fashion heroine Rei Kawakubo - the mastermind behind the Comme des Garçons empire, in a rare sight of seeing her, it again shown wonderful support to Gosha Rubchinskiy. She was sat beside her husband and Comme des Garçons president, Adrian Joffe. There was speculation that the two were there purely for business (Comme des Garçons produces and distributes Gosha's collections) but I believe, or at least hope to believe that they were there because they simply wanted to be.

The show notes stated that the collection formed the "end of a cycle" in Rubchinskiy's work. Over the last eight years, he's made a name for himself, garnering the cult fandom that results in queues to be formed out and around the corner at Dover Street Market every time he drops a collection or releases a book. Gosha Rubchinskiy in a way is doing what James Jebbia done twenty or so years ago with Supreme only on a runway in a derelict building in Paris. Blurring the line between streetwear and high-end fashion has become extremely relevant in many menswear shows of today. I was watching the live stream of SHOWstudio's Gosha Rubchinskiy panel discussion just last week and Daryoush Haj-Najafi made an interesting point in which he feels for this to continue, these fashion companies are going to have keep up the pace and drop new parts of the collection like streetwear brands Supreme and Palace already do. That got me thinking, and I've watched and read enough interviews with heads of menswear departments in which they all say some customers get really bored waiting for the next collection to drop, after seeing images online or in person and that they ring up or come into the stores asking if they can buy it and being told they have to wait six months. I feel and I totally agree with Daryoush in that maybe if the collection was spread out a little over the six months, then the customers asking for the new collection mightn't be as bored or forgetful. Just maybe, I mean I'm no head of a menswear department or anything, I just thought it was an interesting point to make. Anyway, that is it for Gosha Rubchinskiy Fall 2016, It was another incredible show - if not my favourite show from Gosha to date, I think the fact it was much darker internally made me love it so much. Below are the images from the show.






Images courtesy of Dazed Digital and Vogue Runway

The Wolf of High Street