The neighborhood of Raf Simons’ spring show tonight — in the same venue as last season — is particularly un-Parisian. It sits in the banlieue of Ivry, half an hour outside of the city, with unfazed expressions from locals to match. The industrial space was bathed in red light beforehand, spilling across a labyrinthine raised catwalk, raising the question of how best to position oneself in front of blazing-hot light fittings.
Checked face coverings — by now an Instagram phenomenon — were the statement that opened the show, and continued throughout. They fell around the boys’ faces like gang hoods, albeit plaid, coupled with gathered wide-leg rave pants and handpainted rivets, topped off with shrunken knits and chunky backpacks adorned with chunky plastic chains. These meshed nicely with an ingenious soundtrack peppered with samples from Mark Lecky’s seminal 1999 art film ‘Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore’ — putting us in very personal territory.
The masking, married with the sporadic music, caused two boys to tumble from the catwalk, adding to the underlying sense of danger, all while the sound system continued to whisper, “Halston, Fiorucci, Gucci…” This was Raf Simons in devilishly true form — daring and defiant, oozing confidence, and questioning the fashion system in exactly the ways we need.