RAF SIMONS SS18 (ALL THE LOOKS + REVIEW)
Around 10PM on a New York summer Tuesday, Raf Simons debuted his SS18 collection at New York Fashion Week. After serving up an appetizer earlier in the week by setting a release date for the brand’s fifth collaboration with Eastpak (July 24), all heads turned to NYC with eyes aglow.
Last season’s stellar debut Raf Simons outing on American soil was soaked with thinly cloaked disdain for the newly politically cemented lay of the land, and perhaps a reiteration of that message wouldn’t have gone amiss. But Raf Simons was in the mood for something else, something a little more cinematic. If the invitations gave little away, the show’s venue provided the answers. Staged directly underneath Manhattan Bridge in Chinatown, guests like A$AP Rocky, Ashton Sanders, Luka Sabbat, Nicolas Karakatsanis and Natalie Westling rubbed shoulders standing up (only for Raf) while awaiting NYFW’s main event.
Explicitly inspired by Ridley Scott’s 80s cult classic Blade Runner (just in time for the 2017 sequel) – literally exposing some models as being replicants (the film’s android population) and using the Blade Runner typeface in certain pieces – the show provided additional insight into the culture of references that make up the Raf Simons multiverse. The designer’s personal hero, frequent collaborator and design legend Peter Saville, who only just created the new Calvin Klein logo, was stamped all over the venue as well as the collection. New Order and Joy Division artwork ran the gamut, on everything from spliced tops and half done-up drawstring tabards to the little lanterns peppered throughout the street and dangling inside the models’ plastic umbrellas.
Weather-torn, off-the-shoulder new-varsity knitwear got paired effortlessly with burnished metallics, patent jackets and leather long coats. Outerwear played a starring role, sometimes styled backwards like when you’d run out into the garden in your parents’ big coat as a kid but didn’t feel like doing up the buttons. Checkered headgear and ponchos – perhaps winks to Harrison Ford’s Deckard tartan tie – were complimented by macramé water bottle satchels, canvas Eastpak pouches, adidas slides and smokily translucent gumboots.
Though clearly inspired by a meld of East Asian cultures and film, with a setting evoking scenes from Wong Kar Wai’s iconic “In The Mood For Love” or even sending vague vibes of Miyazaki classic “Totoro” via oversize coats paired with tightly-clutched umbrellas, Raf Simons steered levelheadedly away from orientalist appropriation in the collection itself. Pairing that notion with this being another genderless collection, including muse and model Julia Nobis swadled in headpiece and light sherbet printed coat, this collection presents expertly curated self-expression in a way people today can all relate and aspire to.
These are basically already dystopian times we’re living in, so we might as well get to chasing our demons in some slick Raf.