FIVE DESIGNERS RESHAPING MENSWEAR
From Moscow, London, Berlin, Milan and Paris
Menswear develops as a dialectic push and pull between the twin poles of tradition and innovation. In 2018 that conversation between the costumes of masculine past and the apparel of masculine future is being inf luenced by many new factors. Technology both liberates and enslaves. Aggressions towards women - not before time - are being socially outlawed as the idea of patriarchal power breaks down. Old codes, once so regularly reinvented, are now at risk of dying out entirely. As vernacular of menswear is changing so fast, L’Uomo
Vogue decided to zero in on f ive agents of change: f ive designers who, in their own context, are contributing to the large-scale shift in the techtonics of taste.
Is Gosha Rubchinskiy the most influential menswear brand of the 2010s? Since his emergence in 2009, the 33-year-old Muscovite’s carefully curated mash-up of skate-inflected streetwear and post-Soviet, ’90s iconography - naive in its original form, but repurposed by the designer with a sophisticated knowingness - has certainly infected the wider f ashion landscape. Look at the apparently haphazard, bricolage aesthetic both at Gucci and Vetements (+Balenciaga): neither is entirely unaligned with Rubchinskiy’s Russian skate-rat take on youth culture. And his partnership since 2012 with Comme des Garçons made Rubchinskiy arguably the first pure streetwear label to emerge from within the fashion system.
Rubchinskiy’s anti-uniform of Cyrillic-spelled disaffection writ large in sophisticated sportswear continues to renew itself. His three most recent shows, held in Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, brought Rubchinskiy’s international audience into direct proximity to his Russian source code. At a time when Russia is the great bête noire of international geopolitics, this seemed an especially resonant act of fashion boundary-breaking. Those shows were held with the support of Adidas in anticipation of this summer’s World Cup in Russia, and have produced what Markus Ebner, the editor of Berlin-based football fashion magazine Sepp, calls: “a powerful collaboration that is revisiting ’80s football style to make influential clothes.” Ebner adds: “Gosha completely captures the zeitgeist. So of course now Burberry and other brands in need of nowness have been lining up to secure his services.”
Rubchinskiy’s collaboration with Burberry over the last two seasons is a symptom of the realization across luxury fashion that streetwear is no longer an outlier category, but a central one. So as a genre of menswear he helped bring into the mainstream becomes cemented in the fashion establishment, Rubchinskiy is reinventing his brand to stay on the edge.This summer, apparently, there will be no show. Rubchinskiy said at Tbilisi Fashion Week: “I believe that in the state that [Gosha Rubchinskiy] exists, it is a good condition to end this history and start a new one.” Expect that new story to be ahead of the cur ve.