Thursday 20th June

| BY Richard Gray

Raf Simons: Menswear SS20

You can thank the composer Mica Levi for the haunting soundtrack at last night’s Raf Simons show. The original score for the 2014 horror smash Under the Skin starring Scarlett Johansson: it was the perfect dark accompaniment to Simons’ mind-screw spring line out. Was Johansson’s protagonist character – an impersonal alien predator, who consumes humans like we scoff chips – perhaps a metaphor for governmental control? Prescription drug control? Johannson’s character, just like Simons, gets under your skin. We have so many questions about this show.

The venue, on the outskirts of Paris, a huge warehouse space, was laid with a lilac carpet and our seats were wrapped in shiny black plastic. Unnerving and oddly dressed, Simons’ lanky boys wore layered t-shirts plastered with multi-colour paint-drags. A green triangle and a horse logo was the marque of R&S Records – the Belgian label behind the techno-acid fusion genre of New Beat and a huge sound in clubs across Europe in the late 1980s. Lab coats, of sorts, came worm under and over and back-to-front and styled with long-sleeved tees with smilies on; some boys wore checked shorts. Tunics with rolled up trousers underneath were worn with rubber lab wellies. Was Simons hinting at some kind of secretive opioid lab look? All of it was odd. And very good. A stamped ‘how to text your teen’ laid over other glitchy graphic tees spoke of a families split down the middle.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans