Raf Simons Menswear Spring Summer 2014 Paris

The fashion world took a bit of a road trip to reach Raf Simons’s chosen venue for his Spring/Summer menswear show. A caravan of buses transported those lucky enough to get an invite to the event all the way out to the Le Bourget private jet airstrip, well outside the Paris city center. For it was there that Larry Gagosian had erected one of his twelve Gagosian Gallery exhibition spaces. Peppered across eight major cities around the world, each one is dedicated to celebrating the work of modern artists. By that definition, Simons’s designs, most definitely deserve to be displayed below the giant Alexander Calder mobiles and woven through the contemporary structures born from the mind of the architect Jean Prouvé.

As the thumping beat of the iconic 1998 Technotronic’s song Pump Up the Jam slowly built-up to full speed, Simons sent out models through the artwork in an assemblage of styles that were both challenging (slightly saggy bottom onesies, shorts with thick rolled over waistbands, colorful “Captian EO” sneaker boots) and covetable (A-line sleeveless coats, elongated trapezoid tops in bold patterned color combos, flat zip-up document holders adorned with pop motifs).

However, what really marked this show was how very new it felt. Wholly different from anything else out there in the menswear market. And that alone should be applauded as it’s no easy feet to come up with something novel for men to absorb into their wardrobe. There was a feeling that some sort of message about art and commerce was being made via tops with colorful billboard faux advertisements that read “Clusters Artificially Flavored Super Nylon” or “Yo-Ga Brand Wet and Wild” scrawled across the fabric. Whereas the drooping abstract sequin embellished flowers felt like a bit of overflow from the designer’s last Dior show.  But the true message of this collection was of a designer blazing his own sartorial path. 

- Jessica Michault