Meet Gosha Rubchinskiy’s AW18 models in this new film

Filmmaker Angelo Dominic Sesto teams up with the Russian designer to present an intimate portrait of the boys in his Yekaterinburg show

Filmmaker Angelo Dominic Sesto has been capturing what goes on behind-the-scenes at Gosha Rubchinskiy’s shows since 2016 – and his AW18 presentation was no different. Flying out from his London hometown to Yekaterinburg – where the designer rounded off a trilogy of shows that took place in Russian cities in anticipation of this year’s World Cup – Sesto was on hand to document proceedings throughout.

Caught on camera are the lengthy rehearsals, punky haircuts and dye jobs, and the collection itself (which this season featured more adidas Football and Burberry collaborative pieces, in addition to prints inspired by pioneering Russian artist Erik Bulatov). The film offers much more than your average behind-the-scenes footage, though.

“I wanted to create something that was more than just a backstage piece,” says Sesto. “I wanted to actually engage in a conversation with the boys to build a portrait of each of them, and to get a closer look at their mentality. I was interested in creating something more intimate.”

It’s a similar approach to that of Gosha himself, who, at his AW17 show in Kaliningrad, sent his models down the runway accompanied by a BUTTECHNO soundtrack featuring personal monologues that told the audience (or, at least, the ones that spoke Russian) of their lives, interests and ambitions. That Sesto and Rubchinskiy’s collaborations feel so genuine and natural is likely due to the friendship the pair formed before any mention of working together happened: the filmmaker previously called their relationship “a meeting of minds.”

“I believe collaboration in general stems from some sort of connection between two people,” Sesto explains. “We just get on, so then we can freely discuss ideas and projects. Gosha thought this particular show would be a good introduction to Russia for me, to get an understanding of the place, maybe for future projects to come.”

As with all of Rubchinskiy’s shows, most of the boys featured are street cast or friends of the designer – and many speak only Russian. “I knew the language barrier was going to be interesting,” Sesto tells us. “But, like you see in the film, some of them spoke English, so they helped out.”

The models featured speak of school and what they want to do when they leave, growing up in Russia, where they find their inspiration, and the music they love. Many are involved in performing arts too – something that likely came in handy when navigating the show’s choreography and final performance of Russian new wave group Nautilus’s “Goodbye America.”

Despite the language barrier, Sesto found he felt connected with the boys he was capturing. “The fact we are so far away but share such similar interests, it’s incredible to think about,” he says. “I suppose with the internet everything is so easy and fast now that it’s narrowing the definitive lines of where you’re from and what you ‘should’ be interested in.”  

Watch the full video above.