Raf Simons Men’s

Models appearing on escalators is a bit of a Raf Simons show signature, though last time it happened was a full seven years ago, here in Paris. Tonight he did it again, at the beautiful yet imposin Crédit Lyonnais headquarters in the city’s second arrondissement. After last season’s financial scare, the designer parted ways with his manufacturing partner and canceled all buyer appointments just days before the collection was presented. A return to past favorites probably seemed like a logical plan of attack. And what better place to present them than at a European institution that had once suffered its own financial woes—and came back on top.

Simons’ signature slender black suits were prominent throughout, split and paired with sleeveless T-shirts in colored leather, sleeveless button-up shirts, and short-sleeve shirts.

One new idea was floated, a plaid that appeared right from the get-go. Starting with a matching coat, blazer and undershirt combo, it found its way onto nearly half the looks. In Simons’ hands it became a three-dimensional texture, cut on the bias and sewn back together in panels that created inverted checkerboard shapes. Or they were spliced to give a swirling tornado-like appearance on the backs of garments.

But the standout piece of the collection, and perhaps the season thus far, was a pair of black leather oxford shoes. Simons added a sparkle of gold studs to the rim of the upper sole, instantly creating a must-have in the process. Mark my words, come spring they will be the most coveted men’s shoe on the market.

When he took his bow, the audience went wild. Fashion loves a comeback kid, and this season Simons is the poster boy for designers fighting on the ropes. Judging by the crowd’s reaction, he delivered a knockout.

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