Philip Colbert is, without the shadow of a doubt, one of the most eclectic designers I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. A philosopher, fashion designer, artist and singer/songwriter rolled into one, he gave life to “The Rodnik Band”, a multi-disciplinary fashion project that merges together art, music and fashion. Inspired by the Post Pop Art Movement, Colbert presents his fashion label as a pop art band, often performing the songs he has written to accompany each collection at prestigious events – the latest performance was at Hongo for Art Basel, a leading art event that connects art patrons with galleries all around the world.
Colbert’s journey in the fashion world is as surreal as his Pop Art inspired designs. After obtaining a philosophy degree at St Andrew’s University, Colbert decided to enter the fashion world by selling scarves made from Russian goats hair under the name of Rodnik, which comes from the shop the Princess Teneshava set up in Moscow in 1904. Today, “The Rodnik Band” is an acclaimed fashion brand that turns works of art inspired by Warhol and Dali into wearable fashion pieces that make a powerful statement. Whenever I wear one of the band’s wittiest creations, like the egg dresses or the washing machine outfit below, I feel like I’ve just stepped out of a Warhol’s print.
There is truly no other brand in the fashion world that has the same humorous approach to fashion, a feat that helped “The Rodnik Band” stand out and rapidly gain a loyal celebrity following, which includes the likes of fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld, supermodel Cara Delavigne, and performers Lady Gaga and Rita Ora. But the label’s backbone are the capsule collections it creates in collaborations with some of the most luxurious brands in the world, including Rolex and Rolls Royce.
Colbert himself develops the band’s quirky hand-made prints, which are then translated on fabric using lino printing techniques, the boldest colour he can achieve and a sea of glittering sequins. The result is witty, glittering pieces that push the boundaries of fashion and give it a whole new meaning. Undoubtedly, some of you will wonder how to pull off such artistic dresses in real life, a concern I had, too, at the beginning. While some of the band’s couture creations are obviously meant only for adventurous spirits and fashion editorials, the band also produces more wearable pieces, like the panda dress I’m wearing in the photo above (it’s my favourite piece from The Rodnik Band) that anyone can don to sprinkle some fun into their wardrobe.
The Rodnik Band’s latest venture is a collaboration with Chupa Chups to create a special art exhibition and fashion project that includes both pop art paintings, clothes and furniture celebrating the brand’s heritage. The band’s unique fun and positive approach to fashion was the perfect fit for the iconic lollipop brand and what they have achieved together truly remarkable. The striking lollipop-covered chairs and walls are currently being showcased at Design Week in Milan with the help of models wearing Chupa Chups inspired outfits – a visible proof of the multi-tasking talent of Colbert and his band.
The Rodnik Band has made me look at the way I dress in a completely different light. I know that my fashion style has now slightly evolved: now there’s an element of play and lightness that was missing before. More importantly, whenever I wear one of its creations, I feel more playful and lighter myself, which makes my day a lot more fun!