Thursday 16th January

| BY Paul Toner

Raf Simons: Menswear AW20

We all love a greatest hits album. It’s prime opportunity to plow through the deep cuts, cut to the chase and get straight to the classics. Last night’s Raf Simons show felt like a greatest hits moment. Pulling key moments from his decade-spanning repertoire – both from his eponymous label and his tenures at Jil Sander, Dior and Calvin Klein – the Belgian mastermind showcased a terrific collection of desirable pieces that recontextualised a series of past Raf showstoppers into the contemporary realm.

Emerging from a sun-kissed ball of light came Raf’s clan, not dressed in the boyish cuts expected of the designer, but a series of terrific coats. Some came in slender woollen plaid, others wrapped in faux-furs, clung to the models’ form via a plastic wrapping that was reminiscent of the duck-taped tailoring of AW17 and his plastic-fantastic yellow fur from Raf’s Calvin Klein debut. The floor-length trench coats and boxy cuts from Raf’s 2019 collections came more dramatic than before; heaps of wool carefully controlled into brilliant cuts appliqued with door-knob sized buttons. They were paired with muffs scribbled with out-of-this-world etchings, bearing “University Life on Mars” and “Solar Youth” – think Dior ladies of leisure, now with a space-age flare.

Newly debuted moments of restricted tailoring were spliced with more Simons easter eggs. Shiny silver rollnecks and knitted balaclavas (more punk than those debuted at Calvin Klein AW18) came toe-to-toe with collegiate varsity jackets, shrunken to more commercial proportions than those debuted at Simons’ Lynchian AW16 offering. This was self-referencing completed to a remarkable standard. Take notes boys and girls, this is how it’s done.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.