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Gosha Rubchinskiy believes that Europe should work together. That’s the message of the 31-year old Russian designers show in Florence, where he is a guest designer of Pitti Uomo. He collaborated with Italian brands, showed a sweatshirt with the “Europa?” written in Cyrillic, and sent out looks of a sharpness and clarity that will be worn by men wherever they are from.

He is known for his sweatshirts and tracksuits, all on display here, but Rubchinskiy also pushed his label somewhere new. The opening look was a roomily cut suit, the jacket at the back sat slightly away from the shoulders. The effect was intentionally of a lad trying on grown-up’s suit in an attempt to raise his game. Elsewhere there was a vivid red corduroy double-breasted blazer and a lush grey velvet blazer — like the skin of a seal. As with Wales Bonner in London, it took a young designer to show how to make tailoring work in a 21st-century context.

As for those collaborations: Rubchinskiy had worked with the brands beloved of Casuals, that 80s tribe of fashion-obsessed football fans: Fila, Sergio Tacchini, Kappa. These hookups were eloquent in their simplicity: a Gosha take on a Fila sweatshirt, his version of a Sergio Tacchini tracksuit. They will fly out of the lucky few stores that sell this cult brand worldwide. Are you a retailer who’d like to stock Rubchinskiy? Forget it. They’re not taking on any more. Those already in the club will be rubbing their hands at this collection with glee.

There were many great pieces in this show. A little neat mac that was redolent of Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Italian film director and poet whose voice was heard at the end of the soundtrack. Or the blue and white striped boatneck sweater, with new branding in Cyrillic of Rubchinskiy’s initials. A black-and-white striped sweater was banded with the words “Russian Renaissance”, also in Cyrillic (I knew that A-level in Russian would come in handy one day).

“Gosha, where’s Gosha?” asked someone afterwards. “Backstage?”

No. I wandered around the show space trying to locate him. When we caught up he was being swarmed by models from the show, many of whom answered a casting call on Gosha’s Instagram. They wanted selfies with him. He obliged, one after the other, before asking: “I’ve been with you two days, why do you wait till now?”

“I was too nervous before,” one of them said.

Bless them. Many were wearing Rubchinskiy. To them, he’s their idol. And so great fashion brands are born.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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