All Raf, All the Time

June 29, 2012 § 1 Comment

With his first collection for Dior approaching, this will not be the last Raf-themed post, and nor will that make me the only person. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in following his every move, when you’re this good fanaticism on this scale is to be expected.

In a precursor to the spectacle of couture (and considering he did a whole trilogy of couture inspired collections for Jil Sander I’m not even going to try and guess what he’ll do with the Dior ateliers at his disposal) here is the latest menswear offering (SS 2013) under his namesake label.

It seems he’s revisiting his past, as Tim Blanks succinctly put it, “it was obvious that he’d gone back to reflect on his past by boarding that what-brought-me-to-here? train of thought that often follows on the heels of great good fortune.” Such a reflection makes you realise the impact he has had on men’s fashion, and on everything considered current right now.

It was a blend of sportswear and tailoring that is a trademark of Simons, but with a nod to elements of 90’s grunge in the androgynous nature of the garments, a pleated floral dress melded into the front of a tailored coat underscoring the tension between masculine and feminine that underscores contemporary mens fashion, and also a cheeky nod to one of Kurt Cobain’s more memorable portraits.

Also, heres an interview from Dazed Digital with Raf, (fingers crossed they don’t mind me sharing this, but its an excellent insight into the way he thinks)

Dazed Digital: How do feel after the show? Are you relaxed?
Raf Simons: I’m not so stressed about the whole thing now. It’s less stressful when the environment is very comfortable. My team and the people I work with in Antwerp who know my vision well and I have to say on the whole it is a very warm nest.

DD: What were the ideas that influenced you while working on this collection?
Raf Simons: 
I think the change with my nomination at Dior made me think a lot about what I was sitting with for the last 17 years, Raf Simons as a brand. What did I do and how does that fit against the juxtaposition of the scaling up of position that is Dior and Dior Couture? I found that a challenge, because that slightly rougher ethos is what I have always been about and that is what people like about me. I started out with a sense of rebellion, with elements of youth culture and of music, but that part of me has grown up. Both in the way what I am producing is crafted and in the way that it is produced.

Dazed Digital: What references did you want to incorporate from your history?
Raf Simons: 
References to music and youth of course, the way that I grew up, the way I used to live my life and how I started the brand. It was very much related to kids, clubs, bands, the idea of wildness in a way. But on the other hand, I am grown up and I am dealing with another part of fashion and that is now what attracts me. It was the combination of those juxtaposing elements. I wanted to use the two different aspects to discover something that new, interesting and challenging. There was a nostalgic feeling but also a futuristic feeling, in psychology but also in materialisation.

DD: Do you think your couture work has influenced your menswear?
Raf Simons: 
I think so, it has definitely made me think things over. The way that things can be materialised but also maybe attitude wise. I’m not sure if that is to do with the nomination though, I feel that men are currently interested in the way that womenswear is made and produced. How the clothes look, how the clothes are shaped and how they are materialised. That is something that I was very focused on in this show. I also have to say that I think the tendency with this focus in other brands is to end up with the same ideas, you know, the same pleated, mini dress shorts. You can’t do that, I’m sorry. It is a Comme des Garçons thing. It has its place, stay away from it.

DD: How do you reference but give new meaning?
Raf Simons: I looked at Nirvana again and the grunge scene with its flower dresses and its oversized style. I obviously didn’t want my men to walk in a flower dress though, I am not claiming grunge because Marc Jacobs did a grunge collection back in the day. It’s not about that, it’s about the juxtaposition of futurism and the typical Raf Simons thing of what I feel is happening right now in fashion. That is where the combination of the pleated and floral backs of the coats came in, it is a flower dress but it is not anymore, because if you look at the boy wearing it, it is a tailored man’s coat.

DD: What is the future of Raf Simons?
Raf Simons: 
I am in an interestingly awkward position between my two directions, that I am very excited about. Yes, with one house I am going to be looking at what people want to wear, a well produced garment that is going to sell. But I also like to look at what is to come, what perhaps people are not ready for yet. I want to create a dialogue. With this collection I feel that people loved it, but if they had not loved it, there would have still been a dialogue. And the dialogue would have been interesting.

DD: Do you think that with the feminine influence you were discussing earlier and have been referencing in this collection, it is a way that men can rebel again?
Raf Simons:
 Maybe. I think it is something that I offer as a possibility now but I am not the only one doing it. For me I think really, currently, it is about a sense of relaxedness. With the hair for instance, their was control but also there was something very uncontrolled about it. LA interests me, the whole band scene and relaxed carefree feel, but it does not mean you have to dress like a hippy. For me that is modern, that is futuristic. That is where Brian Calvin’s work came in, he paints people that don’t really care, they are happy with their environment. Comfortable.

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