By Jean E. Palmieri and Alex Badia
“Blade Runner” came to life under the Manhattan Bridge Tuesday night courtesy of Raf Simons.
The designer created his own version of the iconic film by taking over an alley in Chinatown, complete with the overwhelming smell of fish wafting through the air and the ear-numbing rumble of subways overhead.
Simons continued his long-standing collaboration with British graphic artist Peter Saville who said the designer had requested access to his archives while preparing for the show. Simons utilized vintage Joy Division and New Order album covers as graphic details on both the set and on several of the garments including sliced-open sweatshirts and graphic Ts.
The opening look — a slouchy black rubber trenchcoat paired with matching rain boots, gardening hat and see-through umbrella with glow-in-the-dark shaft — set the tone for the cinematic collection.
“There were a lot of things that go back to my early days — why we started doing the things we did,” Simons said. “There were strong music references from the past [juxtaposed] and taken out of context. It was about movies, “Blade Runner,” it’s about cultures sliding together, Asian culture, cultures of the West. There was more of a new wave punk attitude.”
Long raincoats in a variety of English plaids, shorter rain jackets — at times worn backwards — and sleeveless trenches represented the bulk of the collection, which looked better suited for wintery weather than cool spring days.
A few Simons favorites also made an appearance including oversize V-neck sweaters with distressed hems styled off the shoulder and ultra-boxy tailored suits in single- and extreme double-breasted styles worn over baggy culotte-style pants.
Simons was also creative in his use of layering, using elongated tabards, cutoff album cover T-shirts and lightweight sarongs in place of pants that had a very youthful, do-it-yourself attitude.
With this solid effort and its memorable production and setting, Simons’ managed to single-handedly raise the bar of New York Fashion Week: Men’s once again.