Raf Simons Fall 2021 Menswear Collection Leave a comment


Every Raf Simons collection is a collection about Raf Simons. Would you prefer a vision of what life might be like if you were a rockstar playing an arena or a Left Bank dilettante or wealthy FinTech NFT collector on holiday in Gstaad? Or are you into Raf’s ongoing bildungsroman? For those on Simons’s journey with himself, he keeps it interesting—and if Simons’s career and work has proven anything it’s that being oneself can be an impressively fruitful pursuit, especially now. To build a heritage brand, you have to have a heritage, and it’s much more compelling—well, to me at least—to watch someone explore their psyche in real time than reanimate the obsessions of ghosts. No wonder Raf and Mrs. Prada gel.

For fall 2021, Simons stated his mission plainly: “The collection is about things I love—things I have always loved, that are always there in every collection, in the processes behind it, and the clothes.”

Over the past couple of seasons, Simons’s eponymous collection has gotten simpler, more obvious, and more evocative. This season, silhouettes loosen and expand, almost magnetically propelling away from the body rather than clinging to it. The quilted A-line coats, some layered with puffy vests, and gigantic mushroom cap knits with strass brooches and dot patterns must be the largest garments he has ever offered. Wearing them with relaxed, gently flared trousers, the models look like atomic clouds, their clothing the electrons circling their forms but never touching them. Kraftwerk’s custom track, repeating the word radioactivity, is apt, as is the set, Genk’s Barenzaal and C-mine facilities.

Depending on how you look at it, these bubble shapes either evoke a sterile coldness (clothing that lives far away from your body) or a mad humanity (clothing scaffolded around your form in a sensual tension with it). Either way, you can’t help but wish that some of the bodies within these massive clothes were more diverse. The best part of big, baggy, enveloping clothing is that it really does look good on everyone—not just the waifs Simons helped popularize in the aughts.

In addition to a mondo silhouette, Simons has also vastly expanded the collection of small, wantable things that hover around his garments. Ivory runner boots with a pastel gum heel are back, while a vast range of teenage-looking jewelry—hearts, logos, and dangly rib cage earrings—accompanies the clothing. The funniest baubles must be the skeleton hand bangles, fixed high on models’ arms like a reminder of the inevitable, eventual grasp of death. Maybe that’s reading too much into it. Simons chose six words to title this collection: ataraxia, equanimity, dichotomy, synchronicity, allegiance, devotion. Peacefulness is the big story, even amidst the techno-medical disasters of our world. Do you feel comfortable in your own skin? Raf Simons certainly does. 



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