When analysing Gosha Rubchinskiy's clothing it's important to remember that up until 2012 he'd taken a detour from designing to concentrate on making zines and photography. He knows his graphics - he is a visual designer. That sounds obvious, surely all designers are visual you may say, but some have a knack for creating a graphic, print or image that alone is as interesting as the garment it's decorating. Today, that ability shone. An anomaly amongst the Russian slogans, one piece came decorated with Chinese lettering. You could read a lot into that. Was it a comment on economy? Either way, these sweatshirts and t-shirts do well for Rubchinskiy; they're paying the bills while he spends time growing the rest of his repertoire. He's been doing a good job of that recently, since Comme des Garcons leant a helping hand with the production side of things. This collection felt meatier than usual. There were more ideas, more garments and some of the best outerwear we've seen all season, the most striking a patchwork coat that built on last season's colourful furry one but came in a leather-like finish.
Rubchinskiy's boys, with their cosy coats and trousers tucked into socks, were menacing yet fragile in the way that only teenagers can be. But that sums him up - his art is merging elements that are strong, violent even, with those that are sad and vulnerable. That interplay came through in the military trousers tied with shoe laces and the deliberately passé, yet strangely covetable, stonewash-effect denims. The collection built on the odd mix of dressing for practicality and dressing for style that underpins most teenager's wardrobes (youth culture and gangs are a big influence). They are made up with treasured pieces that signify taste, carefully selected and obsessively worn, and hand-me-downs or affordable uniform elements chosen for practicality. Rubchinskiy made all these elements beautiful - elevating the humble day-to-day building blocks of a Russian wardrobe and even (back to those denims) the trends you see in countries without a thriving fashion industry. You walked away questioning: what is the fashion that we choose or subscribe to, and what is the fashion that's in our blood?