Raf Simons’ first-ever eponymous womenswear collection celebrated the community and conviction of youth
It’s been a big year for Belgian designer Raf Simons.
Not only did he debut his first collection for Prada in Milan last month, but today he unveiled his first ever womenswear offering under his eponymous label.
Revealed by way of a digital film entitled Teenage Dreams (watch it here), Simon’s spring 2021 women’s and menswear collection was a tribute to the spirit, community and conviction of youth through the ages, which took its inspiration from a teenage film mashup, spanning 1960s and 70s classics like Barbarella, Blow-Up, Alien, The Breakfast Club and Picnic at Hanging Rock, and more recent youth horrors like Scream and The People Under the Stairs.
Today’s film, which Simons himself directed, opened with an androgynous mullet-haired model crawling across the ochre yellow mossy floor of a lilac-lit neon forest wearing a stretchy long-sleeved t-shirt printed with: ‘Welcome home children of the revolution.’
And indeed the woodland gathering of youths that appeared and swayed listlessly among the branches to an eerie soundtrack courtesy of Senjan Janse, all had the air of having bunked off school.
Blazers were worn class rebel-style with sleeves pushed up above the elbows, bedecked in anarchic badges printed with words like ‘disorder,’ ‘freedom’ and ‘community,’ alongside band tees printed with phrases like ‘question everything’ and ‘join us.’
Sweater vests and oversized shirts abounded, and the stretchy mesh metallic polo necks seen at Simons’ autumn 20 menswear show were revisited in psychedelic prints; a print which continued across shin-length hooded capes and chiffon floaty shirt dresses, paired with neon green tights. Sleeveless thigh-length tailored jackets and leather trench coats meanwhile came with unruly frayed edges that looked as though the sleeves had been ripped off after class.
It’s not the first time Simons has designed womenswear. He honed his craft at Jil Sander, where he was creative director from 2005 to 2012, before taking the helm of Dior, Calvin Klein in 2016 and most recently Prada, which he joined earlier this year. His most recent posting was felt in the more prim and feminine high-waisted navy satin wide-leg pants and a pale pink satin midi skirt, and more generally in the Prada-like palette of deep purple, pale tangerine, zingy apple, ochre and dusty lilac that prevailed throughout.
While Simon’s spring 21 show for Prada last month, co-created with Muccia Prada, centred on exploring notions of uniform, today’s was a celebration of the uniform’s antithesis: less the pencil-skirted teacher colouring inside the lines, more the truant smoking behind the bike sheds. Turns out Simons does both brilliantly.