KIDULT, the Spring Summer 2021 collection from Red September, is an exploration unlike any the brand has taken before.
Founded by Olga Vasyukova, Red September has been creating innovative and intriguing works since its first collection in AW2019. For KIDULT, the brand is continuing this experimentation, creating patchwork pieces emblazoned with childlike drawings, chaotically cut and sewn denim and so much more. Throughout every piece, there is a potent sense of rebellion — a balance of strength and tenderness that matches the spirit of the collection’s title. As a former engineer, every one of Vasyukova’s cuts and mergers feel as though they’re made with mathematical precision, a sharp contrast to the childish subject matter and occasionally playful colours and forms.
Schön! spoke to Vasyukova to learn more about Red September and KIDULT.
How has Red September changed or grown since we first talked in April?
А summer in quarantine is practically a lifetime. We have new people in the team — we need to check whether we can go through the zombie apocalypse together or our paths will soon be parted. We presented our summer collection for the first time in Tokyo. Our permanent showroom has moved from Paris to Milan. We went through so many stages of formation, changed so many times and solved a bunch of problems that you just want to watch YouTube quietly, but the new collection will not create itself.
This new collection features a lot of patchwork pieces. What motivated this design decision?
The chaos that forms stability.
Your history as an engineer is on display in this collection. Where do you see that engineering mindset in these works?
Engineering is my life background; I cannot turn it off or on depending on the collection. It’s like an operating system in my head — all my thoughts are formed under the influence of all the knowledge and experience that I get every day. I always say, ‘I am not a designer, but an engineer.’ Who knows, maybe tomorrow I will return to the railroad and do science again, and then I will make a uniform for the workers of the Russian railways — Russian Ministry of Transport, I’m open to suggestions. Please, contact my manager.
What else would you say inspired this collection?
I have studied a lot about the phenomenon of kidults in our society and found a graffiti artist who calls himself Kidult. Such a nickname. Several years ago, he painted high-end boutique windows with a fire extinguisher. My mom doesn’t approve of such vandalism, but ‘the purpose of art is to disturb.’ So I was disturbed; I haven’t touched watercolors and markers for a year. And this whole story pushed me, and I made graphics for the entire collection.
Introduce us to the title — KIDULT. Why do you think this best represents the pieces in this collection?
This word first appeared in the New York Times on August 11, 1985 — a conjunction of two words kid and adult, or the ‘Peter Pan syndrome.’ It was a marketing ploy that has now perfectly entered the mentality of the new generation. Fickle, desperate, daring and open, but already with experience and knowledge. They are completely different people, with different stories, but similar logic. And the collection reflects precisely such controversial views.
Would you say there’s a larger ideological project behind Red September? If so, what is it?
I always use my brain more than necessary. I’m a fashion nerd. Not even fashion, but in general. Therefore, for each project, there is a big story behind [it], and then it gets lost in the articles and publications. But in general, I represent the mores and ideology of young Russia, the thoughts and moods of those people who are fighting for a change.
What have you learned about yourself and your design process since launching your first collection in AW2019?
My mood goes from adorable unicorn to drama queen in five minutes. I accepted the fact that the designer is part of the team, and I can’t make a cool result without trusting my team. I try not to depend on the opinions of others — and if I do shit, then this is very cool shit.
The last time we spoke, you said the future for Red September was “[dressing] up the outsider kids of the world.” In a socially-distanced world, what does it mean to be an outsider?
This is not a physical position in society, but a certain thinking and mindset. Complete independence from other people’s opinions. The Outsiders are actually the coolest characters. They are far from the mainstream, real rock stars. They silently do what they think is right and listen to no one. I feel a huge connection with such people; they are very inspiring with their inner strength and resistance to outdated social norms.
Discover more from Red September on Instagram.
director. Fedor Bitkov
director of photography. Maks Klénov
fashion. Irina Dubina
casting director. Ilia Vershinin
models. Banzay, Ilya Kosky, Misha Mazhega, Maksim Mixam, Boris, Maxim Gaiducov, Lev, Andrey, Dima Z, Yulia T, Saryuna, Valeria Chenskaya + Estella
hair. Sasha Davydova
make up. Xenia Valevskaya
retouching. Irene Velweiss
production designer. Vasiliy Archangelsky
production. Pavel Gretsky x Title.Black
producers. Liza Donskikh + Galina Kolchina
drone. Emil Haziev
gaffer. Oleg Namakonov
production manager. Pavel Yablokov
cg. Kaisar Adilkhan
colourist. Andrey Bushmin
music. Nikola Melnikov
sfx. Max Sorokin
fashion assistant. Viktoriya Gvozdenko
make up assistant. Maria Gusarova