Checking in with Gosha Rubchinskiy
Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy is the king of the cool kids. His logo-heavy streetwear—which recalibrates Soviet nostalgia with today’s Muscovite youth culture in Cyrillic-printed sweatshirts, hammer-and-sickle stamped button-ups, riffs on the souvenir scarf in the Russian flag’s tricolor, and jeans cinched at the waist with shoelaces—has reached a point of cult obsession, selling out in New York, Tokyo, and London. He also, fittingly, opened the latest Vêtements show in Paris in a DHL-printed tee and Doc Martens. But Rubchinskiy has also cultivated photography as an another arm of his artistic practice through both his 2013 zine Crimea / Kids and his first book of photographs, Transfiguration. “They both are part of one ‘Gosha’ project,” Rubchinskiy explains. “One medium helps to explain the other. It is all about same subject but spoken in a different language.” His latest project, a monograph entitled Youth Hotel published by IDEA Books in an edition of 500, will be released tomorrow, with a signing at Dover Street Market London as a part of DSM’s Frieze Week Open Night program.
Rubchinskiy’s focus is on the beauty of Russian youth in the here and now; Youth Hotel is a collection of images featuring sensual portraits of young men, skater boys in their element, and manifestations of the Soviet themes explored in Rubchinskiy’s 1984 collection, contemporary Russian iconography, and photographs captured in the Youth Hotel of the title, built for the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Rubchinskiy explains, “My frequent collaborator and stylist Lotta Volkova would stay over the past two seasons, whenever she travelled over for shoots. We’d often go back to the hotel after, as it was both quiet and cheap. We hosted a few after-parties inside and I took a selection of photos in and around the rooms.” He continues, “For me, the book represents a new generation of hope, the future of Russia now. It captures the culture of youth, which for me is like what the hotel represents: a glimpse of time. It’s somewhere you can spend a small amount of time, but as the energy changes you move on, and grow up.”
YOUTH HOTEL IS AVAILABLE STARTING TOMORROW, OCTOBER 15, EXCLUSIVELY AT DOVER STREET MARKET LONDON, NEW YORK, AND GINZA, AND THE COMME DES GARÇONS TRADING MUSEUM IN PARIS.