raf simons paid tribute to druggy 80s berlin at his menswear show yesterday
The who, what, why and whomst of Raf Simons autumn/winter 18 collection.
Photography Raf Simons
Raf Simons – before he was chief creative office of Calvin Klein, or Dior, or Jil Sander, Raf’s show was one of the highlights of Paris menswear. It’s since been transplanted to New York, possibly because he helms the most iconic American brand of all time (showing next week), or maybe just because he really likes the weather (currently sleet).
On an elevated and elegant runway strewn with bottles of red wine, dead flowers, and bouquets fashioned from lemon peel, he showed a collection comprised of oversize tailoring, with fetishistic, elbow length patent gloves and boots, set to an insane Vivaldi meets techno soundtrack. Amidst the Euro-gloom, he mixed in very New York references to Glenn O’Brien, the famed Interview editor and writer, and downtown muse Cookie Mueller. With the post 4 am music and green strobe lights, it was a weird, fabulous mix of ladylike and teenage boy.
Coats were very much in the bulky, Raf-ish vein, it was just that they’d been deconstructed, cascading from models necks and backs. The shiny gloves gave the whole thing an air of The Night Porter, or an abattoir, or maybe some after hours club where people get up to horrible things. We also saw the return of his oversized snow boots, last seen on a mission to Antarctica, throwing the skinny legs of his trousers into relief with their bulk.
Stitched onto the backs of many garments were images of Christiane F, the eponymous heroine of the iconic 1981 movie about heroin. It’s basically the essential reference for anyone that dyes their hair vivid red and moves to Berlin, or really wants to terrify their parents. If that wasn’t enough, towards the end of show there were a few sleeveless hoodies in neon colours that quite simply had the word DRUGS across the chest. Which apparently is a reference to a book by aforementioned famed muse to Nan Goldin, Cookie Mueller, and the writer Glenn O’Brien – it’s an ‘odd tragicomic play’ according to Donlon Books.
The skinny patent trousers, oversize blazers, and Christiane F hoodies are destined to be must haves, and Raf’s ongoing exploration of his personal history is never going to be anything less than fascinating. Plus, the set looked just like the floor of our flat on a Sunday morning, empty red wine bottles and all. How Raf manages to stay so in tune with the zeitgeist, one will never know -- maybe we’ve been clubbing with him and just not noticed.
Photography Mitchell Sams