This weekend, all eyes were on Raf Simons, who had the honor not only to open New York Fashion Week (with a 10 AM show Thursday) but the whole fashion week season – New York being the first of the “big four” that includes Milan, Paris, and London. An astronomical amount of hype surrounded the event from the fashion press, buyers, and street style kids alike: what would be the future of American fashion? To which extent would the collection echo his own eponymous line, launching in NYC only a few days earlier? Could Simons reinvent minimalism in a time of logomania and sartorial collagism? As the last model exited the runway (in an audience that included Julianne Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow and A$AP Rocky), it seems like the quiet Belgian designer did exactly that – and still, something completely all together.
With David Bowie’s classic “This is Not America” blasting out the speakers, Simons announced a distinctively European Americana – by no means a real interpretation, or homage to the States in any sense, but rather, a citing of the many myths embedded in the megalomaniac county that he can now call his home. There were deconstructed varsity tops, cowboy all-denim, Wall Street corporate blazers for both sexes, laminated fur and feather dresses (“like the aunt who kept her sofa under a plastic slip cover,” fashion critic Robin Givhan observantly noticed), and quilts (quilts!) from the mid-West – all elevated to something highly aesthetic and spell-binding. Simultaneously, hidden in this theatricality was a retrospective of sorts to Simons’ own career path (Jil Sander, Dior) as well as a commentary on his contemporaries such as Gosha Rubchinskiy and Demna Gvsalia, and JW Anderson. Compressed into one, cohesive collection, it seems that a seat atop of one of the world’s biggest fashion corporations provides the best view to fashion’s ever-evolving nature – and we look forward to much more from Simons hand in this place. This is not America!
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