Friday 17th June

| BY Will Johns

Raf Simons: Menswear SS17

Upon entering the grand Stazione Leopolda for Raf Simons SS17 show in Florence, it felt as if we’d just fallen into a warehouse party. Among the low lighting, loud music and very excitable fashion folk were a scattering of previous season Raf Simons clad mannequins, just hanging out. Team Raf had also assembled a huge maze of scaffolding for the guests, on which we were permitted to tentatively climb up and view the space from great heights. As I observed a guest attempting an air kiss with a lady with no face, it became apparent that the low, red and green lighting made it a little tricky to determine man from mannequin. The ghosts of Fashion Week Raf were among us serving as a pre-show treat to keep us going. A bit like the moment of horror when the club decides to shut and the true faces of its punters are revealed, the lights suddenly blazed. No horrors were to be revealed here of course, quite the opposite. Models emerged with chests and backs stamped with beautiful Robert Mapplethorpe prints, and long belts that hung from the models necks reminded of Mapplethorpe’s fascination with bondage. But this collection isn’t one you might think you could pick up for a cut price in Prowler. No, this is minimal bondage. Almost elegant. A very Raf-like, perfectly reduced bondage, if you will. Lot’s of leather and buckles. Hats with chains, much like the ones upon the heads of the daddies Mapplethorpe photographed. Oversized shirts were undone, collars half turned up, as if the models had been interrupted half way through getting busy. There was also a utilitarian, workwear feel to the clothes – the white coats left open felt almost medical, along with brilliant dungaree style tops you could get your hands dirty in. All of it echoed the modern uniformity of Raf’s aesthetic, the clothes having slight references to the shapes and silhouettes of Raf of old. He gave us sex, and we left with our needs more than satisfied.