Raf Simons Takes New York
Raf Simons Takes New York
- Words Javin Busby
- Date February 02, 2017
Fashion critics, buyers and street style darlings alike can almost all speak in unison to the popular opinion that is New York Fashion Week being the least exciting of the four global Fashion Weeks after Paris, Milan and London. Despite its position as the anchor to the men's fashion calendar, it often feels like merely an afterthought despite the recent CFDA's rebranding and pivoting of it as New York Fashion Week: Men's.
While it is an opportunity for many emerging American designers to showcase their wears and prove they deserve a seat at the table, for the most part the NYC schedule lacks the big names that get us riled up twice a year. That was until we were blessed with the inclusion of who many consider the G.O.A.T. of real menswear design, Raf Simons.
Simons, who recently took over as chief creative officer of Calvin Klein and relocated to New York City, has opted to move not just himself, but his eponymous menswear line stateside, instantly becoming to the most anticipated time slot on the NYFWM schedule arguably ever.
"THE TODD SNYDER SHOW WILL START PROMPTLY AT 7:00 PM, FOR THOSE GUESTS GOING DIRECTLY TO RAF SIMONS..." read an email from Todd Snyder's PR team, as his presentation was slated for just an hour before Simons' 8:00pm debut. Though NYFWM's home base of Skylight Clarkson was only a short 10 minute Lyft to 522 w. 21st, with such excitement swelling around the impending Belgian menswear spectacle, it's hard to imagine anyone taking even the slightest risk of missing a single moment of Simons' F/W 17 collection. And what good could come from a room full of fashion insiders standing up and walking out of your presentation, hurrying to that of another designer? Of course, this isn't anything new. Most New York designers and show attendees are quite familiar with the Yeezy effect.
Not unlike a Broadway show, "Welcome to New York, Raf" was reflected in light onto a building across the street from the Gagosian Gallery. The New York fashion who's who steadily poured into the space, taking their seats on tight white benches. Editors, off duty models, buyers, writers and musicians were all in attendance, anxiously awaiting Simons' first collection to be presented in the Big Apple.
The lights dimmed and voices fell. There was a hesitation. The music did not begin immediately, and everyone found themselves bound by suspense. There were fleeting whispers interrupted by moments of silence, until the lights went down completely before returning at maximum wattage with the queuing of audio.
Models took to the runway in powerful menswear staples with Simons' signature twists, playing on the theme of a travelers first experience with the almighty city, a quite literal, but still powerful sentiment that clearly resonates with the ever humble Simons.
Oversized and sheen overcoats engulfed thin models with exaggerated shoulders and knit sleeves at their wrists. Knitwear was seen with disparate proportions--extended sleeves and cropped bodies--emblazoned with plays on the tourist standard "I Heart NY" iconography. There was woolen and cotton workwear, and shirts with added torso length paired with baggy trousers, allowing for a lot of extra leg room. T-shirts seemed to speak to the social and political uneasiness in Simons' new home country, one of which read, "any way out of this" with horizontal stripes eerily similar to those of the United States flag. Vests and overcoats were found cinched at the waist by branded tape.
As the models made their final stride down the runway and Simons poked his head out to wave to all of his adoring fans, one couldn't help but feel honored to have him in our presence, or, rather, be in his. While NYFWM standards like the aforementioned Todd Snyder presented well-structured collections with great casting and charming pieces, it's impossible to ignore just how significant Simons' inclusion, not even 24 hours old yet, already is.
Welcome to New York, Raf. Feel free to stay as long as you'd like.
Lead image via HighSnobiety.
Runway images via Vogue.
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