Raf Simons is under a lot of pressure. Next week the designer will present his highly anticipated first couture collection for Dior. It would be defensible if the designer had taken his focus off his eponymous menswear collection, but Simons didn’t disappoint with another clear and cohesive menswear story for next Summer.
During the mid nineties Simons was integral to the influential wave of avant-garde Belgian designers that made an impact on the international fashion circuit. When Simons launched his first menswear collection his design philosophy was not about clothes but was about his attitude - past, present and future. Simon’s menswear became famed for his modern and progressive approach to style. Using memories and future visions he pieced together his clothing in today’s world and Simons’s clothes have always been concerned with communicating the fact that he is inspired by a pride in individuality.
Since, youth culture and its associations have heavily informed his collections as Simons’s designs for his confident outsiders. His references to youth movements such as Punk, Goth and Mod are not meant to be retrospective, but aimed to translate their original energy into contemporary visions of modernity.
For summer 2013 Simons stuck with his roots and showed why his definition of boys from his early collections is still relevant. Tailoring was core to the collection with bright hues in peach, tangerine, grapefruit, orange and pink. Two-button blazers were worn with long trousers or super short shorts which had slits running up the middle of sides. Prints by Los Angeles artist Brian Calvin explored Simons’s play between feminine and masculine.
Simons’s clothes may have appeared preoccupied with adolescence and the aggression that is associated with the sub cultures, but what the designer masters is presenting radical visions that challenge and push menswear forward. His clothes may be challenging but with youth culture as his driving force for the last seventeen years, his collections have always been inspiring, directional and innovative. Androgynous and sublime the Simons again redefined why he is still the master of modern menswear.