the raf simons guide to joy division and new order album artwork

Every album cover Raf referenced in his Peter Saville Tribute at NYFWM. There’s a few!

by Felix Petty
13 July 2017, 10:25pm

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Raf Simons is a longtime fan of Peter Saville's era-defining graphic design at Factory Records. He first turned to Saville in spring/summer 03 for a collection that included now iconic parkas printed with New Order album covers.

For his second show at New York Fashion Week Men's, Raf revisited his past collections and his love of Peter Saville. Drawing ambience from Blade Runner, Raf turned to Peter's work for Joy Division and New Order to round out the collection, repurposing, ripping up, and piecing back together the designer's legendary work for the Manchester band.

Here's our five album guide to all those JD/NO references.

Joy Division Substance Umbrellas
Joy Division's second posthumous compilation, Substance, compiled the band's non-album singles and early EPs for release in 1988. A classic primer for the band, and probably most people's first introduction to the work of the Ian, Pete, Bernard and Stephen. Warsaw, Digital, Transmission, She's Lost Control, Atmosphere, Love Will Tear Us Apart. Not a bad run of singles is it?

The record sleeve was designed, of course, by Peter Saville, featuring Wim Crouwel's New Alphabet typeface. Designed in the late 60s for Cathode Ray Tube displays. Fact! The characters used on the sleeve actually spell "subst1mce" not substance, because certified design classics work like that. 

New Order Substance Lanterns
Easily the most Oh Fuck How Can I Get One of These This Is Incredible I Am Going to Have to Find Some Way to Buy This item on display. New Order's Substance 1987 is the sister album to the Joy Division compilation, featuring all the 12" versions of their singles and their B-sides. The album is also an absolute massive classic that is 100% essential, charting the band's post Joy Division transformation from mopey Mancs into pill guzzling Ibiza hedonists. 

Power Corruption and Lies / Unknown Pleasures
What is better than a T-shirt featuring one piece of classic Peter Saville design? Yes of course, it is a T-shirt featuring two pieces of classic Peter Saville. What is there to say about Unknown Pleasures that hasn't been said before? Power Corruption and Lies is possibly the best album ever and is also Peter Saville's finest piece of design work. The clash between Fantin-Latour's A Basket of Roses and Saville's colour coded block, is simple, stunning, effective. "Tony Wilson had to phone the gallery director for permission to use the image," Peter explained in an interview with the Guardian in 2011. "In the course of the conversation, he said, 'Sir, whose painting is it?' To which the answer was, 'It belongs to the people of Britain.' Tony's response was, 'I believe the people want it.'" Simons first used the cover back in 2003, on a now iconic Parka, which goes for about 10k on eBay, if you have some cash lying around.

Substance / Technique
The second split tee in the collection; this one melds the aforementioned Joy Division compilation Substance with New Order's 89 album Technique. The cover features an image of a cherub garden ornament Peter Saville found in a Pimlico Road antiques shop. "It's a very bacchanalian image, which fitted the moment just before the last financial crash and the new drug-fuelled hedonism involved in the music scene," Peter said to the Guardian.  

Movement / Substance
Movement, AKA Fact 50, was New Order's first album after the death of Ian Curtis. The Saville design followed on from early singles that referenced the work of the magnificently named Italian futurist Fortunato Depero's design for a 1932 Futurist exhibition in Trentino. In it, it sums up everything shockingly new, wonderfully bold, and inventive in its revisiting of the past. Saville's design harks back to something utopian and a little faded yet still beautiful and full of energy. Just like New Order. Just like Raf too.  


Text Felix Petty
Images courtesy Raf Simons

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