By Thomas Shockman
In a warehouse on the outskirts of Paris, Raf Simons held his Fall/Winter 2015 show. At a time when one could expect Simons to perhaps slack on his own, smaller line due to his massive commitments at Dior, the Belgian designer presented one of his most impressive shows of the last few years. The collection embodied youth, not only in generalities but in ways specific to Simons’ own life and career. The most striking pieces of the collection were the long white lab jackets which were a reference to a traditional hazing ritual that Simons himself underwent as a freshman in college. The influence that Maison Martin Margiela had on Simons’ fashion youth could be seen in the long waistcoats that transitioned from an exactly tailored top to a hem full of ragged edges. The Raf of ages past could be easily seen in the shapes and layers of the clothes as well. The tight sleeveless tops were reminiscent of his especially teenage-influenced early shows in the late 90s and the oversized, almost excessive layers present throughout the show harken back to his angsty collections in the early 2000s.
Though the collection looked backwards like his Spring/Summer 2015 showing, it felt much newer and more forward looking than the Spring/Summer show. Somehow Simons managed to conjure up a universe where going back in time feels new. Part of this is from simple switching it up from his last few shows, which featured lots of juxtaposed bright colors and heavy use of graphics, reverting to a darker feel. It is also worth noting that Simons had women walking in the show, something he has never done before, despite the unisex feeling his clothes often convey. Simons appeared to be embracing the present as he looked to the past, which, if Simons’ previous work is any example, will inevitably point towards the future of menswear.