Never one to pick convenience over concept, Raf Simons dragged us out of Paris for his S/S 14 collection, which was held at Larry Gagosian's gallery near Le Bourget airstrip. We may have been complaining about the inconvenience en route, but once we'd seen the show - and the show space - we were silenced. Models lapped structures designed by acclaimed architect Jean Prouvé and ducked under a hanging sculpture by Alexander Calder.
The setting suggested a meeting of intellectual and creative minds, but Simons was actually feeling playful this season. It was very apt that the large Calder mobile suspended over the runway resembled something that could hang above a baby's crib - there was a youthfulness to this collection, an almost infantile feel most obvious in those minimal all-in-ones that could have been plucked from a vintage bathing suit shop.
Simons was feeling playful in other respects as well. He'd focused on pop art this season. So models appeared with bags and long-line tunics sporting bold slogans - 'Yoga', 'Clusters', 'Super Nylon'. Could this be a comment on mass-production and super brands - or even super fads? Perhaps. Other models in their all-in-one uniforms could certainly have been the workers that manufacture said products, toiling away at a constantly speeding conveyor belt. Warholian elements aside, Simons had acknowledged some of his artistic heros as well - Peter Saville was represented on the front row and also in the graphic horizontal stripes on the models that walked past him.
But as always with Simons, behind all the ideas and influences there was was a simplicity to the collection - a simple black parka with laser cut detailing, the only one of its kind to appear on the runway, was one of the quietest pieces on show, but it'll pack as much much as those vibrant slogan-ed looks in store.