Ten Looks: A Raf Simons Retrospective
Dearest Raf. First of all, congratulations on your appointment at Calvin Klein. You’ll be smashing, we’re sure. We have long been fans of your – let’s call it pristine – work. Have we ever been disappointed? Of course we haven’t. You’re the master. So we want to celebrate YOU, and your MENSWEAR. Any excuse to pore back over collections yore – here, we selected the best of the best. Ten looks. A tough ask, obv. There’s plenty to choose from. And yes, dear readers, before you ask, we know there were lots of very nice looks pre-2009. But the Vogue Runway pics were grainy. Soz.
Spring Summer 2017
First off, fresh Raf. Like a newborn child, this first look is a mere few months old, shown during Pitti Uomo in June. Dominic, our lovely fashion assistant, once said that a jockstrap is the equivalent to framing the Mona Lisa, by which he means his arse. We mention this here because this look doubles as a frame not for Dominic’s arse, but for the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe. Thank god.
Autumn Winter 2016
You can expand your form in many ways. At Ten Towers we mainly do so by consuming food. Or alcohol. If, however, you want to get large without giving yourself coronary heart disease, diabetes, alcoholism or morbid obesity, you could instead just purchase this jacket. It’s mountainous. The clothing equivalent of: “give me some fucking space”.
Spring Summer 2016
See this as a solution for that age-old “bag the face, pump the bass” dilemma. Find yourself a nice man, ugly of face, banging of body, persuade him to don this look and enjoy a night of sexual passion whilst you pretend that you are having sex with an attractive scarecrow that has, by some sort of miracle, come to life.
Autumn Winter 2015
This is like when people used to write stuff on your shirt at school and you cried because you thought you would all be friends forever. Well, young readers, a life lesson. It’s not fucking sad. You will never see those people again. And, when you actually take the shirt off it will probably say “poof” or “virgin” on the back anyway. Save the trubs and just hunt down this very nice jacket instead.
Spring Summer 2014
Back to our aforementioned fashion assistant, Dominic. He owns this top. Here’s another fact about Mr Cadogan: he used to be a diver in his youth. Yup, skimpy Speedos and all. Coincidentally, this top also has divers on it. Not sure if this is why he picked it, or whether it’s down to do with a more recently discovered love of watersports, but either way, it’s like it was made specifically for his svelte form. And we love Dominic dearly, so we love this dearly too.
Autumn Winter 2014
This looks easy to achieve. It’s not, something you will realize when you are covered in both bleach and hot glue gun, crying. Some tasks are are best left to the professionals – like Raf and artist pal Sterling Ruby, with whom he collaborated with on this fine collection. And, to hammer home this point, a personal reminiscence – I once attempted to bleach a pair of jeans, which not long after disintegrated. Like, completely. Knickers out. Heed my warning.
Spring Summer 2013
This collection was based on that floral nightie that Kurt Cobain wore. You can wear this in bed, as a nightie, or with trousers, as shown here. Or, as we might recommend, a sundress. Because boys in skirts are altogether passe, been there, done that – every man and his dog has worn a fucking kilt. But a mini dress, well, that is still a fairly effective way to get attention. As Tim Blanks remarked at the time, it’s “a most startlingly expression of androgyny.” There we go.
Spring Summer 2012
This collection came is various tones of delicious, the vivid pops of colour transforming the rather stark silhouettes into something altogether more romantic. Is this the kind of minimalism we might expect at Calvin? Maybe. On a more practical note – this top wipe clean, a key requirement when it comes to an item of clothing. We’re messy boys.
Spring Summer 2011
If I was ever to nurse my 97-year-old billionaire whilst I waited for him to die, this is what I would wear. It’s sort of like futuristic carer. A bit frigid. He won’t be getting any ideas. Because no-one wants to fuck anybody wearing a white tailored waistcoat. But who needs fucking when you get to wear this?
Spring Summer 2009
This is skimpy. There’s something about the sight of a man’s upper thigh that is really quite arresting, isn’t there? Naughty, even. Especially when, like in this case, they are appearing from a pair of calf-high leather boots. Can we call this sexy? Is it wrong to call Raf sexy? Fuck it, this is. Let’s call it minimal kink. Va-va voom!
Cover photograph by Jason Lloyd-Evans, taken backstage at Raf Simons AW16