Belgian superstar designer Raf Simons has been the talk of the American fashion industry ever since he moved to New York a year ago to make his debut at Calvin Klein. But his menswear shows – for his own eponymous label – also have generated enormous buzz. Last week, he did not disappoint.
Simons’ runway was built in the form of a huge wooden tabletop, laden with mounds of food and drink. There were bowls overflowing with red apples, blueberries and pomegranates. There were mountains of avocados, huge round cheeses and salamis. There were loaves of bread, and what looked like waffles dipped in chocolate. There were countless wine bottles. Guests all stood at the table, and were invited to partake.
It was all meant to evoke, in Simons’ words, the salons of mid-century couture houses, with their “opulent tableaux reminiscent of a Flemish still-life”. But when the models came out, accompanied by a wild, colourful laser show, it was a different world entirely that they were evoking: the late 1970s youth drug culture of West Berlin.
As he has done before, the pop culture-loving Simons took his inspiration from a movie, this time Christiane F., a 1981 German cult film with a David Bowie soundtrack about a teenage girl who gets pulled into the drug scene. Pictures of the character emblazoned some of the designer’s garments.
The models wore shiny rain boots and long shiny gloves, large colourful coats and sweaters that hung off the body in various unusual ways. Some wore yellow or orange apron-like tops that said “Drugs” – a reference to the actual book covers of an `80s play called “Drugs” which Simons described, in his show notes, as yet another cautionary tale.
Simons explained that his show sought to neither glorify nor condone the drug culture, “instead to consider the persistent, almost ubiquitous presence of narcotics (prescribed or otherwise) within our society and acknowledge our often conflicted relationships with them”.
And all that food? The label noted that the leftovers were to be donated to City Harvest, an organisation that feeds New York City’s hungry, and the proceeds from the collection itself would go partly to organisations supporting recovering drug addicts. – AFP Relaxnews
View the slideshow below for a look at some of the Raf Simons designs.