Embody: Gosha Rubchinskiy

Ari Versluis meets the Russian boys who take the streets to high-end fashion realms.

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Taking the streets of Russia to high-end fashion realms and skate parks around the world, Gosha Rubchinskiy has quickly garnered a cult-like critical acclaim. And even though his name sounds fresh, this season sees the designer’s fifth official collection—aptly outlined by Style.com as “a reminder of the days when customers at the newly opened McDonald’s in Moscow would take their Coke cups and fries-holders home with them.” From the boys he scouts and shoots to the boys and girls that fanatically sport Гоша Рубчинский tees, there is a visual denominator that binds them all. Together with photographer Arti Versluis, Glamcult met Rubchinskiy and three of the boys flown in from Russia to present his distinct aesthetic in Paris.

“Any characteristic can amaze me… I look for something special in a person.” Speaking warmly about the three boys by his side, their arms and legs marked by skateboarding bruises, it’s clear that Rubchinskiy is just as much a designer as a friend. “We met for the first time six years ago,” he reminisces about meeting Tolya [left]. “Some of my friends invited him to the casting in Moscow when he was 14 years old. We became friends, and Tolya has done every show so far. He’s grown with us, and is now actually a part of the team. But also Ivan and Andrei [middle and right] are bright persons that represent the current generation. They symbolize a moment that influences my work. It’s a feeling; it’s what is happening in Moscow and Saint Petersburg right now. It’s what’s happening among my friends.”

Although it would be easy to describe “the Rubchinskiy boy” as very Russian—which is accurate in many cases—it is not the entire truth. “I work with a lot of boys from Moscow and Saint Petersburg because I live there,” the designer explains. “In my work I want to tell the story that I know best, and that is what is happening in my country at the moment.” Yet youth from all over the world can embody that same disposition. Scouting is a continuous process for Rubchinskiy, who meets his faces through “friends, friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends.” He adds: “I often meet people on Instagram. We follow each other for a year or two, and then we meet and work together. It’s very much about street casting, or actually Instagram casting. My last show included boys from Amsterdam, London, Berlin, Paris, Saint Petersburg and Moscow.” Describing Tolya, Ivan and Andrei as his “muses” doesn’t feel right to the designer. “I don’t know,” he concludes. “My main language is Russian. Our meaning of the word ‘muse’ comes much closer to something like ‘spirit’ or ‘feeling’. I think that is what it should mean.”

Clothes by Gosha Rubchinskiy

Words by Leendert Sonnevelt

Embody is an ongoing collaborative project by photographer Ari Versluis and Glamcult, exploring the relationship between influential contemporary fashion designers and those who influence their work. Stay tuned for more.

www.gosharubchinskiy.com

www.ariversluis.com