Autumn-winter 2016 is the first collection delivered by Raf Simons since his abrupt departure from Dior. And the anticipation was equal to the success of this collection, which feels like a remix of Simons’ best styles combined with the newest ideas coming straight from his genius mind. David Lynch was the primary point of the collection – the director behind Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet appealed to Raf’s eerie vision from the very beginning – and this collection, shown in a labyrinth venue and presented by disturbingly looking models, had a specific, nightmare-like feeling. Tattered and abbreviated high-school jerseys (the American youth from Detroit and Tulsa has always fascinated the designer) were over-sized and hung out of the deconstructed pea-coats and vests. Moreover, the show invitation mentioned the Elm Street, too – so no wonder why the neon-orange knit made me instantly think of the infamous serial killer from this horror.
To highlight AW16’s sinister, yet elusive mood, Simons called the collection Nightmares and Dreams. “I always like creating beautiful things,” he said, “but it’s interesting when something’s weird, something’s dark. Something goes wrong.” Like the XXL duvet jackets, which the designer openly compared to Martin Margiela’s most iconic creation. Margiela is an important person for Raf and for his career – in reality, it was a Margiela (anti)fashion show that triggered Simons’ interest in entering the fashion industry. “But it was more about how I felt—something so meaningful, so totally from the heart that show, that collection.” Other pieces that caught the standing audience drool over were the Boy Scout uniforms, skinny trousers and layered, white shirts which were tacked under the elongated sweaters in a messy way.
It’s good to see that such a unique talent like Raf Simons hasn’t changed even a bit after a much more corporate brand like Dior – this enigmatic collection represents the identity of this Belgian designer and his creative independence. It feels like Paris re-welcomes Raf Simons with a loud applause after his womenswear affair, even though he had started his men’s fashion in the early 90’s.