Raf Simons is one of my favourite designers. I spent several years living in his trademark oversized sweatshirts, long before he was kicking ass over at Jil Sander. The belgian designer’s aesthetic always struck me as a kind of Helmut Lang look, but for a slightly younger, sexier, more disenfranchised youth. The industrial design that he studied before fashion is ever present in his cuts and silhouettes. His Autumn/Winter collections never disappoint and this year was no exception. Having taken over design at Jil Sander in 2005 he not only rose to the challenge of creating wearable womenswear that was both obviously Raf Simons but also perfectly Jil Sander in aesthetic, he’s also taken much of that to the clothes he still designs under his own name. One of the best features of his Jil Sander looks is his use of colour and you can see it all through his signature collection too.
There was plenty of classic Raf Simons on show too. Lots of black, lots of architectural cuts and ultra modern minimalism. He’s also, thank god, still doing sportswear, in a way that only he knows how. Making a sweatshirt look expensive is after all, quite a feat.
On the rare days when I deem an occasion too ‘fancy’ for wearing a sweatshirt I obviously turn to knitwear. Raf Simons knitwear manages to look edgy, cool and ‘cosy’ all at the same time, again, no mean feat. I’m particulary obsessed with the extra long cable knits and the uncharacteristically fine-knit fair isles.
His clothes are becoming a little more grown up and formal as the years pass, and I feel in a way me and Raf are growing up together. He’s one of the few designers who I feel like I could dress in all the time, and never get bored of or feel overdressed in. In fact he’s the only designer I feel like that about. To be honest I liked it better when he was more of a fashion secret than a big fashion success, but with so many lines and collaborations now, it’s just more Raf clothes for me…
Words by Warren Beckett