Raf Simons Fall/Winter 2018 New York

Raf Simons set up his own interpretation of a Flemish still-life painting — an opulent tableaux of fruits, red wine, loaves of bread and impressive flower arrangements — as the backdrop for his fall collection, titled “Youth in Motion.”

His inspiration this season was “Christiane F.,” the 1981 cult film directed by Uli Edel about the dangers and realities of drug addiction. “I thought he was going to put some pictures on T-shirts,” Edel said. “I didn’t realize the whole show was based on the film. It was a long time ago.”

Indeed. But Simons modernized the theatrical production by juxtaposing it with a driving techno soundtrack and colorful laser lights for that rave feel he loves so well.


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The opening look — a boxy plaid coat with contrasting yellow lining over a deconstructed turtleneck with draping side panels and ultrafitted satin cargo pants — served to introduce his new silhouette.

The abundant tailored offering mirrored that silhouette with oversize blazers and skinny pants accessorized with elbow-high latex gloves.

While the theme of the show may have been dark, the use of bright colors including red, yellow, tangerine orange and purple helped to soften the mood.

Drug references surfaced both subtly, as patches on scarves and knee pads printed with the letters LSD, XTC and GHB, or blatantly, as in the word “drugs” printed in large block letters on a sliced open hoodie/poncho.

Other graphic references that spoke to the designer’s heritage were the actual photographs of the film’s lead characters that he printed on pants, T-shirts and on the backs of some coats.

Overall the collection again showed Simons’ ability to connect with Millennials and even Gen Z yet still manage to energize and inspire Gen X and beyond.

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