For his SS17 appearance at Pitti, Gosha Rubchinskiy presented a collection in three parts – a runway show, a film, and a series of photos, exhibited at the fair and soon to be published as a book by IDEA. Florence’s Manifattura Tabacchi provided the backdrop for them all; an abandoned factory built in the 1930s by the State’s Fascist regime, which bears a striking resemblance to Soviet architecture.
While the collection was a Rubchinskiy-take on Italian sportswear, bolstered by collaborations with brands including Fila and Kappa, the film and book (both titled The Day of My Death) take an altogether different aesthetic – albeit an Italian one. Silent apart from classical music, and captured entirely in black and white, it’s a neorealist nod both to the famed genre of Italian cinema, and to the aesthetics of the country’s fascist period.
Directed by Renata Litvinova, the film follows a group around the abandoned factory, as a ménage à trois turns deadly – with an ending partly inspired by the mysterious death of Pasolini, to whom it is dedicated. Its two stars are a pair of Rubchinskiy models, skateboarding brothers Titouan and Louison, whom the designer has previously worked with because of their resemblance to Classical Italian sculptures. Meanwhile, Rubchinskiy himself and stylist Lotta Volkova also put in cameo appearances.
While it might not seem such a stretch to go from exploring one twentieth century regime in Russia to another in Italy, Rubchinskiy’s decision to do so was timely. After the show, he spoke of the importance of a united Europe, saying that this project was about the question of what Europe is today. It was a poignant message, and Rubchinskiy’s thoughts were clear. “This is the time when people need to collaborate and connect with each other, because we have the internet – everyone knows what's happening around the world so it’s stupid to be isolated. Let's try to find words and ways to speak and live with each other. This is the main message.”
The Day of My Death Under a linden warm with green I shall fall into the black of death, which the sun and lindens will dispel. Beautiful boys will run in the light that I’ve just left, flying out of the schools, curls falling onto their brows.
Pier Paolo Pasolini English translation by Stephen Sartarelli.