Thursday 21st June

| BY Richard Gray

Raf Simons: Menswear Spring/ Summer 2019

“What does Paris bring?” Asks Raf Simons, who, showed his Spring/ Summer 19 Collection in the French capital last night, after a three-season run in New York. The reason for his return? Not clear, but it seems that Paris is regaining its fizz. On first glance, Simons’ decision to move, was perhaps based on the city’s history of unparalleled couture, which infused his collection. It was, we said as we left, a “kind of nightclub raver meets couture client.” That meant satin long coats with buttons dotted in lines. The coats looked expensive and many of the buttons had no buttonholes to fasten into; it was more whimsical than practical: a Raf-ism – a “simply because”. The trousers were handsome, with a sharp crease at the front, some of which, had a hem of 4” on the front-half of the turn-up. The back half had none. We think. It was difficult to gauge. The models walked by so quickly, and the industrial-space-turned-nightclub, was distracting and hypnotic too. There were laser beams bouncing off silver mannequins that had a nod of those in Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange Korova Milk bar. Models wore overly long Lurex knits, some worn off-shoulder, some with an on-purpose shoulder hole. Some with a knitted hanging bit, which was left (this was something super-technical by the way and credit to the pattern room) to flap around as the boys marched by at eye-level. The catwalk, of sorts, a slightly raised wooden walkway, cut through, us, the nightclub crowd. The t-shirts were printed with what looked like cut-and-paste clippings from an old punk zine and images of former heroes of the King’s Road scene with shaved hair and cat-flick eyes. Hidden under the boys’ coats and left dangling there, or attached to bags, were those plastic yokes, which hold your six-pack of beer you see in corner shops. Mocked-up beer cans were fashioned into accessories and the plastic yokes were also worn as vests. This smuggling of boozy contraband into a nightclub, that teenage rebel breaking all the rules, was, and is, and always will be, a theme in Simons’ work: that of the rebel boy dressed up and ready to break the rules. Ready to get pissed up and ready to fight.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans