The babushka has been having a renaissance. And when I say “babushka,” I don’t mean that a pious, potato-schlepping Russian grandmother is making a comeback. Instead, I am talking about her headgear. Fun fact: When a kerchief-donning A$AP Rocky refers to a “babushka,” he means the scarf, which is indeed something that a Russian grandmother wears. But in the Russian language, a “babushka” means, well, a grandmother. That’s besides the point, however: The babushka has made rounds on the runway over the past few seasons at Vetements and Gucci. Rappers and musicians have since adopted the look: The aforementioned Rocky wore one adorably cinched around his chin at LACMA’s annual art and film gala last November as well as this past April, and Frank Ocean beamed in one this past January on Instagram. Soon after, in February, Kendall Jenner took the look for a stroll in Milan, tying a silk scarf under her chin in a more elegant Grace Kelly way. Then in New York just last month, Chlo? Sevigny wore a a larger-than-life scarf, very reminiscent of my very own Slavic great-grandmother (though hers came sans the plaid Simone Rocha coat, of course).
While the look was once reserved for habitual churchgoers and ancient borscht brewers, young Russians themselves are taking the trend for a spin in the day-to-day. Look back at the street style shots this past Russian Fashion Week, captured by Style du Monde, and you’ll see women in their 20s (that’s a quarter the age of the standard babushka!) walking through Moscow with a head covering and contemporary garb. Though it seems like a new fashion phenomenon in Russia among young people, much of the Russian youth had been wearing babushkas long before the scarves hit the runways. Moscow-based 27-year-old consultant Svetlana Bevz has worn one since 2017, noting that she likes “mixing old and new together.” (She adopts other babushka-loved trends, such as toting along a pretty plastic bag.) Another is Gucci-beloved model Unia Pakhomova, who puts the appeal simply: “It just looks cute on me, obviously.” It sure does.