The Persistent Memory: Raf Simons Paris Menswear Collection Spring Summer 2015
Belgian designer Raf Simons is considered one of the most consistently influential figures in menswear design over the last decade. Since his first collection released for Autumn/Winter 1995-96, he has created clothing which fuses a love of music and youth subculture—from punk to “gabba” hardcore electro—combined with a sharp sense of cutting and tailoring to create an aesthetic simultaneously sophisticated and underground. His 2002 collection displayed an image of an urban guerrilla fighter wearing dark layered garments—a powerful inspiration to a host of young menswear labels that launched in the early 2000s. Since 2005, Simons’ youth culture references have given way to an emphasis on stronger shapes. While channeling a more mature and conservative vision of fashion, Raf Simons remains a consistently thought-provoking creator.
Raf Simons’ Spring/Summer 2015 collection was inspired by ideas and concepts of memory. Pieces were culled from his back catalogue and reinterpreted, while prints and visuals with personal resonance to the designer were incorporated into the garments, and the result was an intimate collection which was not only a meditation on his creative process but also on Simons’ own life.
This Spring/Summer collection was a sophisticated presentation with a David Lynch-esque aesthetic created by strong red and green lighting effects, casting strong shadows that summoned an otherworldly feeling. The portentous ambience was enhanced by the music of Mica Levi, taken from the soundtrack of the film Under The Skin, which created an even more ominous atmosphere. The garments were distinctly Raf Simons: Sharp and simple silhouettes. Coats and jackets with sailor collars had prints of friends and family sewn on, including images of his parents’s courtship, while tailored jackets were secured by a horizontal cluster of buttons and Japanese inspired tattoo skin tops hugged the body.
The collection affirmed Raf Simons’ ability to create fashion-relevant collections, and also reminded the viewer as to the strength and enduring style of the sartorial codes established in his previous collections.