Credited with bringing creativity to American fashion by fellow designer Marc Jacobs, Raf Simons attracted a diverse crowd to his menswear show last night, which is considered to be one of the hottest tickets of New York Fashion Week: Men’s.
Following the stateside debut of his namesake label last year, on the heels of his appointment as creative director of Calvin Klein, showgoers traded the sedentary comfort of Manhattan’s Gagosian Gallery for standing room only underneath a bridge in the heart of Chinatown to witness a collection that was a sartorial celebration of an open world.
Under a sea of Chinese lanterns, models clutching umbrellas and sporting wide-brimmed hats paraded down the makeshift neon lit runway in clothing that melded music and movies while embracing disparate cultures; references perfectly distilled by Alexandre de Betak’s Bureau Betak into a cinematic-style backdrop.
For Spring/Summer 2018, Simons was inspired by Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner, seen in the slick trench coats, and 1980’s new wave, with Peter Saville's album art for Joy Division and New Order featuring on printed and often apron-like tunics. Asian influences came in the form of long, draped silhouettes and kimono-style jackets, and there was also a heavy dose of oversize tailoring and similarly voluminous knitwear.
Trouser-shorts were cropped to the knee to show off the models’ color-coordinated rain boots reminiscent of those used by workers at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market, which together with the array of umbrellas played to the overriding wet weather theme.
With many American-based designers now electing to show their collections on the European schedule, Simons’ decision to move his presentation to New York goes against the tide. However, it injected some much needed enthusiasm into the event, which has yet to make its mark on the fashion calendar.