Raf Simons turns Frieze London into a Fashion Week for cool kids
Sotiris Kaberis14. 10. 2022
After a long month full of non-stop fashion shows, who could have thought that there is still energy for more? Welcome to round 2 of fashion weeks, a new hybrid that rises from the ashes of the stereotypical art industry that seems to be fading away.
After a long month full of non-stop fashion shows, who could have thought that there is still energy for more? Welcome to round 2 of fashion weeks, a new hybrid that rises from the ashes of the stereotypical art industry that seems to be fading away. There is something out of the ordinary going on in London this week. Brands from all over the globe are staging fashion events in the British capital drawing the attention of the world once more. For the fashion industry, the buzzy Frieze Art Fair was the perfect opportunity to act and reschedule their shows as a great and effective way out after the death of Queen Elizabeth II that disrupted London Fashion Week causing extra drama. But sometimes the tricky coincidences of life might bring something new to the surface. Frieze London is an event that brings new people to a town full of fresh ideas, excitement for the unexpected, and a lot of wealth to spend on both art and fashion. Normally we picture the art collector as a businessman (or a businesswoman) who is very sanitized in the way that he’s dressing, while stiffness and meticulousness are part of his personality.
Last night something changed in London’s art and fashion scene and a new hybrid of fashion week were born - but be careful only cool kids are allowed there. After canceling his physical debut during London Fashion Week, Raf Simons finally arrived in the city on a Thursday night, only to take us to a rave party. Guests gathered in the historic Printworks nightclub in Canada Water to witness a Berghain-style experience. Entering the large venue Clara 3000 was playing music while on the right side there was a long black bar. Everyone was drinking cocktails until minutes before the show when the bar was transformed into a runway. Moments of silence followed and the darkroom was lightened up for the show to start.
Raf Simons is a designer who prefers having his guests standing (than sitting in stereotypical chairs) in order for them to witness his creations in a more personal and intimate approach. A way of showing fashion that’s embedded into the culture of partying and nightlife. In his codes as a designer, the founder of the namesake brand is well known for his oversized hoodies, broad shoulders, big proportions, and extra layering. They have also become like an obsession and a characteristic of him to the outside world. Although this time there was something different going on. For his Spring/Summer 2023 collection the Belgian designer is a reductionist by the following simplicity as a way to achieve a radical change in his creations. Tailored blazers and biker jackets transformed into tank tops, keeping their original essence but liberating movement at the same time. A new type of formality rises up as a symbol of the new modern age. Classic tailoring fits in wool, manipulated internally with elastic to flex around the torso, and trousers got minimized to panels of fabric only to free us for our morality and make us feel intimate with each other. Behold the new gender-neutral sexiness taking shape into the rave.
At first glimpse, Raf Simons’ show might have looked like a rave couture party, but he actually brought the art into the Frieze art fair as a personal fan he is. The Spring/Summer 2023 collection debuted a collaboration with the estate of Philippe Vandenberg. A selection of artworks was contextualized as all-over prints on garments and accessories, focusing on his text works. Handwriting scripts got translated to fabric, as a perfect metaphor of what we call wearable art in fashion. Canvas transformed gloriously into deconstructive clothes, opening a dialogue between the present and the future of these two industries and their creative relationship which Raf Simons successfully renewed.
Foto: Courtesy of Raf Simons