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Thread: Raf Simons

  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by tricotineacetat View Post
    I really fail to see the 'masterful tailoring' thing people seem to consistantly credit Raf Simons for when I take into account that Gysemans, the Belgian tailoring producer he's always worked with and that also produces Kris Van Assche and Véronique Branquinho, is known to work exclusively with cheap, fused interlining.

    I know quite a bunch of people that have worked closely with Raf both on his own line as well as Jil Sander over the years and all of them mentioned that his sensitivity was informed exclusively on a visual impact level, hence the reason why most of his fabrics are cheap and not very tactile friendly (and accounting to the reason why Raf has very little input on the Jil Sander womenswear except for a conceptual/editing input, similarily to Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy).

    I really enjoy some of the pieces he's made over the years that are more sportswear in craft, but when it comes to real tailoring, Hedi's suiting always excelled that of Raf's.
    When I think of tailoring, I imagine clothes that are well cut and compliment the wearer's build and frame. Raf is a strong and innovative pattern maker and a great tailor in that sense, because he creates clothes for the tall and narrow man.

    Raf's more recent suits manufactured by Gysemans does use fused interlining, but from what I've read, his pre-2000s suits were full floating canvas. I guess it could have been a cost/specification decision made by Raf.

    Since spring 2010, Raf moved the majority of his manufacturing to Italy. His made in Italy suits now are supposedly made by a reputable Italian suit maker and are fullly canvassed. You can see it in the broader lapels and softer shoulders in his suits.

  2. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by tricotineacetat View Post
    Okay, but fabric sourcing is a whole other thing than the initial tailoring craft - which involves the pattern making and manufacturing control over the piece itself.

    The judgement on fit is a difficult one, since every designer has a different body in mind when they create the clothing. So you will obviously find some to fit you better than others, whereas a person of different build might tell you a whole other story. To say as much as that - Hedi's jackets never fit me too well, they were cut for a narrow-shouldered body of a height that ideally didn't exceed 1.75m in a small size.

    The only base from which to judge the quality really is the look inside a jacket - How is it interlined, how have the sleeves been inserted? I can't speak about the clothes Raf had made prior to 2002, as I've never handled any of the more tailored pieces from that time in person, but everything I've seen made since then had been a huge let-down in terms of quality - Then I think of someone humble as Stephan Schneider who's jackets can be had for a good amount less, likely with nicer fabrication and exclusively developed fabric and I can only assume that the margin Raf (and his sales people) are cashing must be quite high for what you are getting...
    I agree that Raf chooses fabrics solely on a visual level. Raf loves and references art in his clothes. You can see the art comparisons on this site dandy gum. He chooses fabrics based on color and visual impact (think raf ss 09, jil men ss 09, jil women fw 08).

    Raf doesn't take into consideration the tactile hand and comfort of his fabrications because he doesn't wear his clothes. I read in an article where Jil said that she tries on the clothes she designs to see if they are comfortable. It's a shame because a lot of Raf's interestingly designed wool knits are itchy. Unlike Jil, Raf doesn't have a background in fabrics, and I don't think his knowledge has improved since his job at Jil Sander.

  3. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by slalom View Post
    When I think of tailoring, I imagine clothes that are well cut and compliment the wearer's build and frame. Raf is a strong and innovative pattern maker and a great tailor in that sense, because he creates clothes for the tall and narrow man.

    Raf's more recent suits manufactured by Gysemans does use fused interlining, but from what I've read, his pre-2000s suits were full floating canvas. I guess it could have been a cost/specification decision made by Raf.

    Since spring 2010, Raf moved the majority of his manufacturing to Italy. His made in Italy suits now are supposedly made by a reputable Italian suit maker and are fullly canvassed. You can see it in the broader lapels and softer shoulders in his suits.
    I wore almost only Raf for over 10 years since the very first collections and also have quite a few suits. The ones before his 1 season break indeed are fully canvassed and in general better quality. The same goes with much of the outerwear. As Faust said Raf never had Hedi's budget, but then again the clothes and the vision had more soul at least in my opinion. I liked and wore both (still do, but only the olden goldies), but to me Raf was the original. When going to DH shows it was about the spectacle, the perfect casting etc, but Raf really was about emotion...

    Maybe the Italian manufacturers have raised the quality, but the magic is gone...To me ss11 was a poor a attempt for relighting the fire with old classics. He did a much better job with collections for SS06 and AW06, which both referenced his signature pieces and spirit and also started the return to tailoring.
    I would go out tonight, but I haven't got a stitch to wear...

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by slalom View Post
    When I think of tailoring, I imagine clothes that are well cut and compliment the wearer's build and frame. Raf is a strong and innovative pattern maker and a great tailor in that sense, because he creates clothes for the tall and narrow man.
    While he does create clothing for a man with a tall and narrow silhouette, this does not in any sense make his pieces any better cut than, for instance, someone that would cater to a completely different physique.

    As I was mentioning before, that is merely an aesthetic decision of the designer as per what customer he envisions his clothing in - So maybe it is just you that seems to fit Raf Simons' proportions well?

    Quote Originally Posted by slalom View Post
    His made in Italy suits now are supposedly made by a reputable Italian suit maker and are fullly canvassed. You can see it in the broader lapels and softer shoulders in his suits.
    Sartorial suitmaking is actually not characterized by any such details - it is merely the difference in interlinings used for making the jacket, either with fused front or blind stitched horsehair (this has nothing to do with the articulation of the shoulder and sleeve break). In fact, the possibilities are quite endless when it comes to the silhouette and structure of a suit - some prefer a stiff interlining and dry-hand fabrics, whereas neapolitan tailors prefer a much softer, barely noticible construction with light canvassing. Again, that is an artistic decision, along with the quality level you desire for.

  5. #65

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    I think you define tailoring as craftsmanship and handiwork, like fully canvassed suit interlinings. I define tailoring as a strong sense of proportions and cut to compliment an individual.

    Raf cuts the shoulders of his suits boxy to give skinny lanky guys a strong shoulder. He also can cut slim and loose fitting trousers and knows how to pair them to create interesting proportions. I see these as strong tailoring skills.

    These are all aesthetic decisions, yes, but isn't it a tailor's job to make clothes to compliment an individual?

    Helmut Lang used fused interlining in his suits, does that make him less of a tailor?

    The cut of the clothes are subjective, but Raf's clothes look and fit well on the models in the runway shows. You can't say that about every designer, like Prada.

  6. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by tricotineacetat View Post
    Sartorial suitmaking is actually not characterized by any such details - it is merely the difference in interlinings used for making the jacket, either with fused front or blind stitched horsehair (this has nothing to do with the articulation of the shoulder and sleeve break). In fact, the possibilities are quite endless when it comes to the silhouette and structure of a suit - some prefer a stiff interlining and dry-hand fabrics, whereas neapolitan tailors prefer a much softer, barely noticible construction with light canvassing. Again, that is an artistic decision, along with the quality level you desire for.
    Also, I meant to say the switch from Belgian to Italian production can be seen in Raf's suits. They've switched from strong padded shoulders and narrow lapels with a low gorge to broader lapels with a higher gorge and softer Neopolitan shoulders characteristic of Neopolitan suitmaking. I know these are artistic decisions, but it is a coincidence.

  7. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by slalom View Post
    I think you define tailoring as craftsmanship and handiwork, like fully canvassed suit interlinings. I define tailoring as a strong sense of proportions and cut to compliment an individual.

    Raf cuts the shoulders of his suits boxy to give skinny lanky guys a strong shoulder. He also knows how to cut slim and loose fitting trousers and knows how to pair them to create interesting proportions. I see these as strong tailoring skills.

    These are all aesthetic decisions, yes, but isn't it a tailor's job to make clothes to compliment an individual?

    Helmut Lang used fused interlining in his suits, does that make him less of a tailor?

    The cut of the clothes are subjective, but Raf's clothes look and fit well on the models in the runway shows. You can't say that about every designer, like Prada.

    You can assume the fitting on most runways corresponds exactly to the liking of the respective designers, at least that accounts to the big houses, from Prada to Dior to Balenciaga etc. ... some of them even tailor those pieces directly for the models that eventually wear them on the runway - So feel free to put the blame on Mrs. Prada's designers if the clothes look badly fitted on the runway...

    I think, regardless of taste level, there is always and indeniably a pragmatic crafts element involved when you're talking of tailored menswear. Pattern work is one element and then you decide through the fabrics and interlining anf fabric choice what character (some people in here refer to this as the 'soul' of a garment) you want to give to your designs.

    I look back at Helmut Lang's and Jil Sander's partnership with Prada and I can't help but think that the fabrication backing they got through them was not beneficial to their minimalist aesthetics - A Helmut Lang suit should have had the impeccable craftsmanship and fabrics as those Hedi made at Dior, but whereas they both retailed for more or less the same price point, the Helmut Lang suiting was (no kidding) at about the same quality level as Hugo Boss. Jil Sander famously resigned from her position when she saw her high quality demands declining under Prada as both designers were using cheap materials/fabrication techniques that were used similarily for all brands under the Prada umbrella (this went down to the footwear lines from both designers making use of sometimes even the same lasts). So yes, in a way, Helmut Lang developed an appealing 'image', but not so much clothes that appealed with beautiful fabrication, proportioning etc. - Dior Homme definitely offered the timely 'update' with an even better trimmer silhouette and luxe fabrication that excelled pretty much all of Helmut's staples - the suit, the jeans, the shirting... Blame it to to Hedi that he eventually developed such a bizarre liking for grunge rock that made his style go downhill for a few collections...

    Raf Simons, in a way, is very much following in the footsteps of Helmut Lang's work ethos in the sense that both are more 'artistic directors' rather than what you refer to as a 'tailor' (In french, this would refer directly towards the couturier) - They both looked at clothing entirely from a visual/conceptual impact level, whereas a tailor's work is very strictly based on strict craftsmen's techniques (This is indeed why the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris has such strict regulations as per what is to be described as 'Haute Couture').

    In Helmut Lang's case, he's even had Melanie Ward co-directing the direction of his line since the mid-nineties, with various head of collection designers under them that were responsible to translate their conceptual input into the clothes as we saw them. Such designers included Kostas Murkudis (he left very briefly after the Prada deal was signed) and Alexa Adams of Ohne Titel (she worked under Lang as the executive womenswear designer during the days in which he returned to Paris). Again, these job descriptions refer to very hierarchic structures that are commonly worked with in the fashion industry, from smaller to larger established design houses. I personally know of only two designers that act not only as the creative directors on the global 'image' of a brand, but also but also the design and styling of their runway collections down to every detail - those designers are in fact Olivier Theyskens and Hedi Slimane.

  8. #68

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    Why won't you just leave Raf alone? What is the sudden hatred for? His clothes look perfect on Yannick and other boys- just like Hedi's clothes looked great on slim boys- so maybe it's you that should work on your silhouette?

    No other designer has that visual impact that Raf Simons has, which is so evident on that http://dandygum.blogspot.com/ blog - mentioned in a couple of posts here. Who else inspires art? Name a designer.

  9. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by TINTININBRUSSELS View Post
    No other designer has that visual impact that Raf Simons has
    had, not has. well ok, I guess you could call neoprene gorilla arms as having an impact, but certainly not the right kind.

    people started hating on him when he went from making clothes with a real voice to producing gimmicks and poorly fitting suits.

    The Raf Simons watch / towel / keychain / fail .
    "AVANT GUARDE HIGHEST FASHION. NOW NOW this is it people, these are the brands no one fucking knows and people are like WTF. they do everything by hand in their freaking secret basement and shit."

    STYLEZEITGEIST MAGAZINE | BLOG

  10. #70

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    Raf draws inspiration from music and modern art, not the other way around. He uses a lot of the colors, images, and text from different modern art movements - de stijl, bauhaus, italian futurism. It acts as visual embellishment imo and shows his appreciation for modern art - printing the bauhaus logo on a sweater, using yves klein blue, printing images inspired by socialist propoganda on t shirts and sweatshirts

  11. #71

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    it's interchangeable.. To me all those arrangements and collages are artworks in their own right - geographies of the artist's mind. Raf Simons is an artist.

  12. #72

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    I really think he's referenced people like Peter Saville's work in a very unpurposeful and uninteresting way - I don't see how embellishing an army surplus parka or a sweatshirt with woven patches would have any more artistic input than the way some of my punk girlfriends were embellishing their canvas bags in similar fashion during my high school days - Weather or not those motives are citing the Bauhaus movement or contemporary youth culture doesn't change anything about the method really.

    You could say it makes up for a nice update on a sweatshirt, but to call it a throw of art goes a bit far for an effect that is neither characterized by intricate craftsmanship or particular innovation.

  13. #73

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    really? what do you think about the paul chambost inspired jil sander autumn winter 2009/2010 collection? what you see were the flock prints of these vases on dresses? or dresses in the form of these vases?

  14. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by TINTININBRUSSELS View Post
    Why won't you just leave Raf alone? What is the sudden hatred for? His clothes look perfect on Yannick and other boys- just like Hedi's clothes looked great on slim boys- so maybe it's you that should work on your silhouette?

    No other designer has that visual impact that Raf Simons has, which is so evident on that http://dandygum.blogspot.com/ blog - mentioned in a couple of posts here. Who else inspires art? Name a designer.
    I could take my time to dissect your statement but I fail to see why I should, given the fact that you present your own opinions without argumentation and as an undeniable matter-of-fact. Furthermore, some of your assumptions come up as rather aggressive, leaving the impression it's you who is expressing hateful sentiments here.

  15. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by tricotineacetat View Post
    I don't see how embellishing an army surplus parka or a sweatshirt with woven patches would have any more artistic input than the way some of my punk girlfriends were embellishing their canvas bags in similar fashion during my high school days
    I think that's the whole point

    Raf referenced a generation of teenagers that many people felt a strong connection to. The army surplus, band logos, patches on clothes invoked a sense of nostalgia for that specific generation. If you see his clothes and you remember your teenage years listening to those bands, patching your clothes with band logos, and going to those concerts, then Raf did his job.

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by TINTININBRUSSELS View Post
    it's interchangeable.. To me all those arrangements and collages are artworks in their own right - geographies of the artist's mind. Raf Simons is an artist.
    oh, lord, not that again. look, you may disagree with tricotin, and I often do, but he knows his shit and can back it up.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  17. #77

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    from a purely financial level, I would really like someone to explain Raf's change in direction. At every store that carries mainline Raf, you can have the pick of the litter at 60% off. His line for Jil has quite a lot of fails but seems a million times better conceived and the tailoring is a lot more pleasing to the eye and touch. I really wish I could buy that this was an artistic decision but never before to my recollection has a designer so completely turned his back on his body of work. Even non-MMM Margiela collections remain truer to the spirit of the label.

    I mean, Raf, season by season, descended into worse and worse collections in a precipitous way, one season worse than the next. S/S 08, whether you liked it or not, seemed to be his last collection with any cohesive idea or ideal.

  18. #78

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    Apparently, you are not an artist. arguing for the sake of arguing is a pathetic discourse, yet here is a quote by Sterling Ruby for you. sincerely,

    I like to think about art as being similar to poetry: it can’t be proven. It just exists and there’s an aura about it that people get or don’t get. Beauty has to do a lot with that....‘I made Raf’s store in Tokyo, and we are now working on a clothing line, which is something that I’d never thought I would work on. But it’s not just about clothes. It’s a collaboration with somebody who I think is an incredible artist. We’re displacing our roles in the project. Even though I might be perceived as a collaborator on a clothing line, my job is actually: the treatment of fabric. It’s about this sort of critique in the system of fashion. Raf is bringing me in in order to degrade the material, so to speak. I’m bleaching all of this denim. To me bleach has a very significant deterioration factor to it. It’s actually damaging the denim. It’s deconstructing it.’
    Sterling Ruby.

    And have you hear of Bauhaus -where artists actually worked under the same roof?

  19. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by lowrey View Post
    had, not has. well ok, I guess you could call neoprene gorilla arms as having an impact, but certainly not the right kind.

    people started hating on him when he went from making clothes with a real voice to producing gimmicks and poorly fitting suits.

    The Raf Simons watch / towel / keychain / fail .
    well, Raf hasn't become the official supplier of " fashion week outfits for fashion clowns " like rick owens has.

  20. #80

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    worst comparison ever. this is about Raf, not Rick Owens.

    Like tricotine already said - you're initial arguments were terrible to begin with and now you are attacking a completely unrelated designer, totally pointless.
    "AVANT GUARDE HIGHEST FASHION. NOW NOW this is it people, these are the brands no one fucking knows and people are like WTF. they do everything by hand in their freaking secret basement and shit."

    STYLEZEITGEIST MAGAZINE | BLOG

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