Raf Simons: A Reflection on the Designers Standout Moments
Raf Simons has been nothing short of a success in the Fashion Industry. Having launched his own menswear label in 1995, alongside spells at renowned brands; Jil Sander, Dior, Calvin Klein and now a new partnership with Prada, Simons’ journey has been a roller coaster, to say the least! As we prepare for the next Prada spectacular in September there seems no better time to reminisce on our favourite Simons moments.
The Raf Simons collection of Spring 2002 strongly encapsulated that streak of “rebellious youth culture” for which the label is widely known. The title of the collection “Woe onto Those Who Spit on the Fear Generation...The Wind Will Blow It Back” drew upon the social turbulence of the youth, with powerful messages such as “We Are Ready and Willing to Ignite Just Born Too Late” printed across many of the garments. The looks were dominated with headscarves and stark block colours of black, red, and white, with many models carrying a fire torch; an unexpected yet highly atmospheric addition to the show.
Although rebellion and youth culture are inspirational within his personal label, Simons has also demonstrated his flair for the traditional, and proved himself the perfect fit for Jil Sander in 2005. In line with Jil Sander’s minimalist aesthetic, Simons’ earlier collections for the Brand were beautiful in their simplicity yet flirted with experimental shapes. Across his eight years at the House, Simons demonstrated his ability to create inventive yet inherently wearable designs. His abstract prints met the simplicity of tailoring, asymmetrical sleeved coats were subtle, yet statement and fringe cut-out dresses were daring. Simons has a talent for making his own style apparent while paying respect to the ethos of the Brand. In 2012 we saw the beginning of a new chapter when Raf Simons made his memorable debut at Dior as Creative Director. Presenting a glow of elegance and sophistication that alluded to the Brand’s ‘new look’ of 1947, the collection was definitively Dior. Incorporating the classic nipped waist, accentuated hips, and flattering curvature around the bust, Simons had succeeded in reinventing a timeless look for the Dior Woman. Yet Simons’ artistic passion was cleverly woven throughout the iconic language of Dior with several of the pieces featuring the abstract works of Sterling Ruby, an artist that the designer has admired for many years. The result was a series of beautiful dresses that showcased the incredibly traditional yet new direction of the Brand under Simons’ wing.
It is no surprise that Simons’ penchant for the artistic genre developed while at Dior, with Christian Dior himself taking pleasure in the works of Salvador Dali. For the Fall of 2013, Simons drew upon the works of Andy Warhol with its repetitive prints and portrait detailing, followed by incredibly experimental colour contrasts the following year. Simons’ journey at Dior felt short but sweet, however, his contribution to the Brand in both a traditional and artistic sense will always be remembered. Who can forget a pairing as harmonious as Simons and Dior!
Simons’ career has been abundant with highlights and these are only a few of our favourites. We are excited to see what the Prada – Simons partnership brings for Spring/Summer 2021, and if it is anything like Simons’ collections so far, this show is one to keep posted on your calendar.
Words by Brooke Savino