10 Magazine

RAF SIMONS: THE CATWALK

Why is it that whenever we hear the Smashing Pumpkins we feel a sudden longing to be 16 again, with all the angst and frustration that entails? How great Billy Corgan and, by extension, our fair selves would have looked great in Raf. How what Raf has done now is what Corgan did back then, and at the time we didn’t quite understand it yet, we were young, but seeing it anew is exactly what we needed, still need.

Because, you see, while we were at the show, the clothes spoke to us. Quoted Starla at us. “I’m here. Please take me home.” We want. We really do and believe us when we say that if we coulda, we woulda. Take the clothes home, that is. And maybe have sneaked Raf in our bag, too. We could celebrate Raf’s 15th anniversary together. In peace. Somewhere quiet where we could stroke and caress. Our fingertips gently lingering over the heavy zips, brushing against the nude rubbers, grabbing at those hips encased in those narrow tops of thigh-grazing cummerbunds/skirts.

All so sterile, so clinical, so clean looking. We could dispense with the latex gloves and trusty bottle of bleach, safe in the knowledge that unprotected fingers would not come away with a million microscopic bacteria molecules trapped under the fingernail. Also, clean in sprit, which let’s be honest, is something that’s a little harder to come by. After all, we’ve yet to figure out how we can sterilise someone’s soul. A mixture of boiling water and whisky doesn’t seem to do the trick – quite the reverse, in fact.

But somehow, through the medium of cloth Raf has projected a man-of-the-cloth saintliness. Something to do with the trousers – those wide, almost skirt-like, creations which bring to mind, when paired with those A-line zip tops and the cummerbund/skirt contraptions, a cassock. Which is kind of appropriate since he was inspired by his very own cleric, a certain Saint Margiela. He’s not very well known in biblical circles, we’ll admit, but we swear we saw him mentioned, if only in passing, in the Book of Job. And how Raf fused that holy aspect with a sort of hits retrospective that didn’t feel retrospective at all but new, fresh, futuristic in a sense.

As Saint MM once said, and we’re sure you clothes will agree that these words could just as easily glide off the tongue of your own fair creator, “I think I always look forward. But it is a nicer feeling for myself to go forward by looking backwards.” So moved we were by what we saw, we cried, sobbed hysterically from beginning to end, our heart filling with pride seeing how our boy had grown, how far he’d come and how talented he was, reinventing the notion of menswear in 15 short minutes. Again.

www.rafsimons.com

by Natalie Dembinska