Raf Simons‘ latest collections are more straightforward and easier in approach – yet they have that elusive spark that makes the designer’s work so attractive. For autumn-winter 2021, Simons stated his simple mission: “The collection is about things I love – things I have always loved, that are always there in every collection, in the processes behind it, and the clothes.” This season, silhouettes loosen and expand, almost magnetically propelling away from the body rather than clinging to it. The quilted A-line coats, some layered with puffy vests, and gigantic mushroom cap knits with strass brooches and dot patterns must be the largest garments he has ever offered. Wearing them with relaxed, gently flared trousers, the models look like atomic clouds, their clothing the electrons circling their forms but never touching them. The best part of big, baggy, enveloping clothing is that it really does look good on everyone. In addition to the over-sized silhouette, Simons has also vastly expanded the collection of small, wantable things that hover around his garments. Ivory runner boots with a pastel gum heel are back, while a vast range of teenage-looking jewelry – hearts, logos, and dangly rib cage earrings – accompanies the clothing. The funniest baubles must be the skeleton hand bangles, fixed high on models’ arms. What I loved most is the dynamic colour palette – bubble-gum pink, pea-green, plastic-yellow, baby-blue… delightful! Simons chose six words to title this collection: ataraxia, equanimity, dichotomy, synchronicity, allegiance, devotion. Peacefulness is the big story, even amidst the techno-medical disasters of our world. Keeping the balance is always a good idea.
“Live” collage by Edward Kanarecki.