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In Paris, Raf Simons thrills with no frills

Alex Fury
raf 4 300x300 In Paris, Raf Simons thrills with no frills

A look from the spring 2014 Raf Simons show

There are few menswear aesthetics as clearly defined as Raf Simons’ – one the rest of the industry hangs its hopes on. Simons now shows his menswear on the first day of Paris to create the greatest distance between this presentation and his haute couture for the historic house of Christian Dior, to be unveiled on Monday.

This evening, the distance was magnified, both geographically – staged as it was in a gallery beyond the Parisian borderline – and ideologically.

Simons’ collection was young, relentlessly so, torsos elongated above spindly legs encased in the briefest of shorts, oversized multicoloured trainers an echo of the pumping dance anthems roaring over the soundtrack. That rave safe moment was encapsulated in the almost hallucinatory quality of the prints.

The graphic designer Peter Saville, a Simons collaborator sitting front-row, would recognise the excitement of the nineties Hacienda days leaping from oversized shirts emblazoned with almost-nonsensical statements. ‘Artificial Flavoured’ screamed one; another ‘Super Nylon’. That one wasn’t so nonsensical, as the clothes were so synthetic they nearly crackled. That all sounds brave and different from the rest of the season’s menswear. It is. There was a striking sense of the exciting and new here, something exhilarating that will push fashion forward. Nothing old, or borrowed, or blue.

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