From Russia with Hype
Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy is celebrated by the fashion elite for his agenda-setting aesthetic. But his designs are a Potemkin Village that abound with tacky tropes and slapdash stunts. We think he just might be a Russian spook working for the GRU.
Mystery, miracle and authority are the three powers alone able to hold the conscience of people captive, explains Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor in “The Brothers Karamazov.” Gosha Rubchinskiy, fashion’s favorite ‘post-Soviet’ romanticist, has mastered at least the first two. The cunning creative has been regaling vast ranks of fashion editors and commentators with his amped-up, heavily appropriated artifice that aims to preserve, interpret, and commune with the late Soviet Union’s schlocky sartorial archetypes, tawdry traditions and rando regalia. His outmoded (yet mysteriously modish) clothing looks to the past, bringing back tracksuits, crudely-cut denim, faux furs, Russian visual tropes and mass-market sportswear from the late ‘80s and ’90s. “It’s all low-brow, ‘ugly chic’ stuff, a collision of east and west that’s really over-hyped”, says one bigwig London-based editor who asked to be anonymous.
Gosha’s Gopnik-esque and Dizelaši get-ups, done in cahoots with Adidas for AW17 and presented yesterday in the Russian seaport city/exclave of Kaliningrad (annexed by The Red Army in 1946), are a mash-up of hybridized streetwear leveraging American and Euro consumerist logos, Cyrillic script, Russian cursive and a modicum of authenticity (think narco gangsters/skaters/Russian soldiers sporting vintage Reebok, Roos or Girbaud with glitzy graphics, pastel-y palettes and denim bombers). It would appear that the majority of the fashion intelligentsia, all of whom pour praise on the crowd-pleasing designer (including the headhonchos over at COMME des GARÇONS, etc.) are being co-opted by RT or the GRU — the Kremlin’s subversive propaganda machines that celebrate a ‘resurgent Russia’ and agitating for a kind of lofty post-USSR fantasyland. In trying to preserve the crust of a bygone empire with its concomitant kitsch aesthetic and nationalistic bromides, Gosha & Co. make it seem like the ‘Soviet/Eastern Bloc avant-garde’ is all the shit; it’s not. And while Gosha deserves props for his snazzy creations, the starry-eyed cadres of editors, essayists and talking heads, nostalgic for late Iron Curtain-era duds, should give the whole ‘post-Soviet’ thing a fundamental critique and radical re-think. Hmmmm, is it possible that Gosha is a Putin proxy working on behalf of Russia’s foreign intel services? Peep the garden-variety garments below.
VIVISXN – Fashion + Art