Russia’s Fashion Alert
It is time for Russia’s fashion show to take place. Teenagers of all ages are placed in a lineup, ready to take on the runway platform to show around 150 buyers and editors are sitting anxiously in the audience.
The designer Gosha Rubchinsky is only 32 years-old and prepared for the crowd of people trying to squeeze in about 40 or so chairs to be impressed by his 2017 collection.
The models start walking, sneakers squeaking as they hit the wood floor and watch themselves in faded mirrors placed around them. Smartphones are held in hands, snapping photos of the military-inspired outfits, naval peacoats, sportswear pieces with cartoon animations stitched on them, and square t-shirts with clip ties in the middle. The audience sits eagerly as one model follows another and another and they gather up enough energy from 9-hour flights from England to watch Gosha’s performance.
The fashion show is taking place in winter and everyone was asking why that was considering the dreary weather and the snow coming down like clouds. Gosha is important for the Russian fashion industry now and he is getting bigger with popularity. The last time Russia was accumulating fashion fans, it was almost a century ago when Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes took center stage. The ballet had a huge impact on prewar fashion, with pastels, bold colours, and exoticism. Much of the clothing was inspired by Sergei’s ballet performances, which was different than most of the fashion that was appearing then.
Leon Bakst was another well-known designer from Belarus, who toyed with a spin on traditional clothing, lampshade skirts, harem pants, fur-trimmed jackets, and oriental turbans that made heads turn back a second time. Russia was exploring in revolutionary designs and it was exploding in the fashion world. It is their time to shine again now with edgy yet sophisticated clothing.
The influence felt from the ballet had still been romanticized later on when Yves Saint Laurent captured it in their “Russian Collection” back in the 1970’s. There was Slavic embroidery, boots with tassels and fur lined hats just like the jackets. Russia was used as a fantasy for a handful of designers that enjoyed the idea of Russian beauty and history. The richness, the harsh realities, and the beautiful landscapes were going into the thought process of designer’s work. Since the ballet was banned in Russia at the time, people were thinking of “otherness” which to them meant another time, another country and would try to envision themselves in Russia.
Gosha’s style is much like Vetements, with sportswear pieces that are also unique and thought-provoking. It is a different wave of fashion that Gosha uses and Russia as a country is widely known in the present day, which is why the country is so fascinating to designers and models now. They have developed some sort of admiration for Russian fashion and cultural clothing. The abstract appeal of Gosha’s clothing cannot be read unless you are Russian, but he has collaborated with Adidas for the sports look that is popular in fashion now.
Grungy streetwear, bold colours like orange and green, and synthetic fabrics are used quite a bit from designers eager to show the world these fun and over-the-top designs. The aesthetic is everywhere now, in magazines, newspaper, social media, and runways. It is something that is nostalgic in a way that is being brought to life. Even corseted waist skirts and dresses are making a comeback, giving an even sexier appeal with headpieces that are donned with pearls like those of the 18th-century paintings.
Either Russian youth are wanting to pay attention to their heritage or it is a language thing. It is cool anyway.