Sino-Russian relations worked out at an exercise party, where ‘sport’ (written in Cyrillic and Chinese) is a form of diplomacy. In a Western protestant church, under the gleam of a stained glass window and the waft of incense invading your senses every now and again, these two superpowers – with similar ideological backgrounds, after all – can bond and coexist.
Subcultural mash up:
Youth subcultures are a permeating theme of Rubchinskiy’s work. Here was an unlikely combination of two of them: The Paninaro movement: a retro, early 80s scene in Italy where kids, fuelled by ideals of consumerism, would wear Moncler jackets, Timberland boots and MA1 bomber jackets – a sort of Italian take on the American prep. The other subculture nodded at by Rubchinskiy was the Nazbol movement – a Russian underground party created in the 90s by writer and politician Eduard Limonov. Kids following Nazbol had extremist views and engaged in macho/football fan culture. The collision of these two scenes resulted in familiar ‘townie’/‘scally’ tracksuit sets mixed with sheepskin lumber jackets, completed with mullet haircuts that could only have come out of the Paninaro era. With Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons taking him under their wing, Rubchinskiy is bringing his Russian upbringing and memories into the fashion fold – and there’s something startlingly refreshing about his points of reference.
Sport but not sportswear:
The word ‘sport’ may have been emblazoned all over jumpers, socks and used as a tracksuit logo, but the clothes were not simple riffs of sportswear. With a bootleg Tommy Hilfiger logo worn as a badge of bravado and socks and waistbands pulled up to create a consistent silhouette, this was Rubchinskiy’s new reiteration the uniforms of his youth – all mixed with an idealism of capitalist values that are increasingly being called into question today.