you're dead wrong about him, just ask Cathryn Horyn
you're dead wrong about him, just ask Cathryn Horyn
Here's what I see: Raf never set out to change the face of menswear. He just happened to do it while expressing his own feelings, externalizing his influences (school uniforms, military presence in Europe, the state of the world as reflected by 9/11, etc). His brush with commercial success left him wanting more, hence the creation of his diffusion line and movement towards more commercially friendly work. He said what he had to say, and now it's not art for him anymore. It's just business. Which is horrible, and sad, because I did see echoes of Helmut Lang in his work, and some of the early 2000s collections are timelessly modern and will continue to be on the edge of fashion for some time (except that whole hippy thing...)
So, although we enjoyed his work for its revolutionary approach and social significance, his desperate attempt to cling to subversion looks, to me anyway, like nothing more than a marketing approach, something dreamed up by the same industry that employs "coolhunters" to spy on young people in search of the next commodifiable subculture/movement/aesthetic/what have you.
hmm yeah, "that's your opinion" was stupid, I take it back. But I think some things said here are closer to speculation than opinion anyway.
What made Raf great was his ability to capture the attitude of youth subculture movements like Mod and Punk through clothing. The template for Raf's narrow suits were taken from the skinny suits that Mods wore in the 60s. The military inspired clothes he features in his collections were popularized during these movements as well. He was innovative because he presented ideologically subversive clothes as fashion.
What he puts out now is more concerned with the showbusiness aspect of fashion rather than conveying a mood/attitude of a generation of people. His current collections lack the narrative and substance they once had.
What I'm wondering lately about Raf Simons mainline, who is the client?
The last 3 collections in stores have been rather horrible, the neoprene was unwearable for most, with akward tailoring on the jackets, however some nice knits.
the snake collection was a dissaster with idiotic jackets that have to be belted. and now the fw10 collection looks just gimmicky on the rack while the runway looked good.
The good thing of raf was that pieces came of the runway, it was very unstyled and pure. now so much relies on styling and combinations. Remember those idiot bibs and arm pieces you could buy at okini? so you could configure your own piece. horrible idea at 150euro+++ per item.
The last collection looked interesting and reminded me of his old work, I have yet to see how it will work on the rack.
his kraftwerk inspired collections where the best to me, love them. also fw08 is really really good, im happy to own a few pieces of that.
He would benefit from doing smaller, focused and more conceptual collections again, the gimmicky tricks on formal wear got boring when 40 000 other houses did it.
yeah I've noticed in the past few years the Raf has occupied a space within stores that is virtually invisible to the eye. Nothing moves or grabs; you sift through a couple bland pieces while idly browsing the store and then pull open a collar to find out it's "Raf Simons" for that flicker of an "ahh" moment that is filled with an odd flatness.
let me show you a few thangs
A suit is not necessarily an expression of conformity, it is first and foremost a statement in sleek refinement and sharp, accurate lines. You could argue that this is not what everyone's cup of tea and I know you rather prefer the softer, intentionally imperfect line of Ann's clothing (which is fine in it's own right), but I firmly believe classical tailoring remains relevant and pleasurable to wear, and not just for a conformist tier of fashion consumers.
Thinking along these lines, I look back at how people reacted to Olivier Theyskens ultra-dressed up, formal outings for Rochas - Those clothes appeared otherworldly, almost too precious for a human to wear, and the degree of perfection and exquisite, good taste was almost provocative in that sense. All that through an oeuvre of skirt suits, cocktail dresses and evening gowns, made in the most expensive, Parisian couture traditions. I couldn't think of anything more subversive nowadays than to display such a degree of sophistication with confidence and in today's fashion culture.
But, I am not talking about the conventionality of suits in some non/rebellious sense, but merely in how easy of a cop-out it is in terms of menswear design.
To be sure, a lot depends on context. But if you want to talk music - look no further then the Beatles, who started out in mod suits when they were climbing to stardom by singing silly songs, and ended up far from them when they became serious (political) about their music.
merz: your look has all the grace of george michael at the tail end of a coke binge.
though not so much about Raf - i did post something earlier about suits - im not a suit guy - but i think not only is it "what type of suit?" - but even if it is a basic sort of suit, it depends on accessories, shoes, the person wearing it, etc. But, in general, even if you have a suit covered in safety pins, it's still a suit. it still is somewhat...just a suit. i wish there were a suit that was both classy and had attitude to say the least...hard to find. raf certainly isn't doing anything like that and i don't know who is. as far as raf himself...i don't think he's a sellout. i'd still pick his brain and even buy some of his junk now. though, true, the good 'ol days are long gone.
Eh, too much nostalgia in this thread me thinks. Now seriously, tell me what's so special about Raf's collections from the early 00's apart from the fact that pretty much everything but some of the outerwear and a few pants is ugly as fuck. Come on, if you ignore the so called cultural references and what not, what do you have left? A bunch of ugly knits, printed t-shirts, hoodies and fucked up styling. Does some punk-inspired print on a jersey hoodie and some wanna-be army surplus jacket make a man a visionary and a collection culturally significant or whatever it has been called in here? Would any of you actually think it was so great if you took a more objective look at it? Yes, the presentation, the shows etc. were something special. But the individual pieces - and that's what you end up with in the end - I cannot in any way see how they're great clothing. Mind you I'm talking about the collections from the first half of the 00's. Please enlighten me.
Not saying that you shouldn't want to look 'really cool', but just because you don't want to wear something designed ten years ago for a 'really cool' young man, doesn't make that 'something' irrelevant. Raf Simons' work from 99 to 2005 is the reason I started paying attention to fashion and feeling that maybe fashion could say something about and to me, and although he may not be as relevant and chic as Carol Christian Poell or Damir Doma, you should reconsider your perspective before you dismiss his contribution to men's fashion.
Videos for some of the shows (I know a couple were put up prior, but just to have them all in one post...):
F/W96 Pt. 1 Pt. 2 "We Only Come Out at Night"
F/W97 Pt. 1 Pt. 2
F/W98 Pt. 1 Pt. 2 "Radioactivity"
S/S02 "Woe Onto Those Who Spit on the Fear Generation... The Wind Will Blow it Back"
S/S04 "May the Circle Unbroken"
S/S05 "History of the World"
F/W05 "History of my World"
Last edited by Karamazov; 02-03-2011 at 06:32 PM.
Thanks for the videos!
No problem! I'll edit that post if I find any more of them. Perhaps we can get a full list together at some point.
I wonder what Robbie's role is in the picture these days; he hasn't been in any of the shows since F/W08.
On the old Raf's website there were videos of all old collections. I don't know why they took them down.
Not sure about Robbie - maybe he did not want to move to Milan. If so, I can sympathize.
Yeah, I trawled through the old site using the Wayback Machine, but the videos weren't archived.
Haha, maybe it's Milan that changed Raf's work...
Yes, we call it "The Dirk Bikkembergs syndrome." Milan is the black hole. Only Poell can resist, but only because he has cashed in his faustian bargain a long time ago.
I believe that is the most succinct and appropriate way I have ever heard such a situation be described.
I hope these problems he's been having with his manufacturer re-adjusts his view a bit, though. The notion of instability is typically good for that, and I think he still may have something new to show us.