top of page

When someone who works in fashion thinks about Raf Simons - whether he/she likes him or not - all thoughts go immediately to his huge influence and to the incommensurable power of his aesthetics. Mr. Simons established his brand in 1995 and he immediately started molding fashion, recreating all its foundations. At the very beginning he was supposed to launch a line together with two of his friends, but they soon left him so he started focusing on menswear because he could only fit the garments on himself. Despite this very domestic origin his eponymous brand was very impacted (it still is) and showed to the world what we can now consider his secret addictions.


Music always played a crucial role in his inspirational process as a deep passion ceaselessly linked to all the consequent aesthetics. The world of techno, punk and electro-music contains a legacy merged into all the youth subcultures spread all around the globe. Raf Simons was the first to understand the importance of how all these young kids were dressing up following what they were loving so strongly and he started to translate all these codes into fashion. This was his real and contemporary revolution that contributed to his enormous success.


At this point it is in fact impossible to think about Raf Simons without having in mind the covers of Joy Division and New Order albums designed by Peter Saville that are now a common musical and fashion iconography, only after becoming a real obsession for the designer. An obsession of course, interpreted in a positive way or at least transmitted as an iconic aesthetic. This is the power of transmuting a concept, already thought by an artist, into something globally available, without losing its sophistication. 


As time passed by, the strength of all the subcultures slowly faded away because of a series of conceptual mixtures that made them gradually more opaque. This didn't affect Simons' work because he has absorbed subcultures in such a personal way that they have become by now (actually from the very first moment) integrated to his own way of making fashion. There's rather a deep connection between what was his first inspiration and what we can now define as a secret addiction that can let us say that his secret addictions are eventually the personal characteristic of his style.


Once we have accepted this we can easily find out all Raf's secret addictions because they represent all the key features of his entire and brilliant career.


Along with the world of subcultures then the color is for sure another of Raf's obsessions. Its role is recurring into the whole work of the Belgian designer as a powerful instrument used to disrupt banality, shaping new ideas of a modern wardrobe. The Spring Summer collection he proposed in 2007 for Jil Sander - since 2005 he was appointed as the Jil Sander Creative Director - is a clear example of his unconventional yet successful choices: starting with plain silk shirts in bright hues Simons juxtaposed essential and optical whites to brilliant suits in orange, lemon yellow and Klein blue, together with overcoats and cocktail dresses, thus revolutionizing the epitome of minimalism. As well as he did for the Spring Summer 2011 menswear collection he presented during Pitti Uomo making Jil Sander an explosion of color-block as an innovative statement for a man's line. Once he became the Creative Director of Dior in 2012 this impactful study of color kept going on as the Fall Winter 2014 collection widely proves: the double-breasted suits proposed in warm tones have been paired to saturated long and sleeveless coats that introduced the double-layered cocktail dresses with audacious slits kept together by crystal encrustations.


One of the most famous moments of Raf Simons' career is for sure his debut as Creative Director at Dior with the Fall Winter 2012 Haute Couture collection. Beyond providing an outstanding talent for Haute Couture with one of the best collections of the last two decades, he showed us another central theme we can add under the tag of his obsessions: art. Among the beautiful evening gowns slowly floating through rooms completely covered with blue delphiniums, white orchids, yellow mimosa some of them appeared as a clear artistic vision, the result of the collaboration with the artist (and Raf's friend) Sterling Ruby to light up an already outstanding fashion show. This artistic romance is a true obsession repeated also for the Calvin Klein 205W39NYC Fall Winter 2018 show surrounded by Sterling Ruby sculptures for a location set up as a contemporary art museum. And again as an integrated art form his eponymous Spring Summer 2017 collection was a fusion with some of the most recognizable photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe as decorations of S&M inspired garments.


The other theme that can be included to complete this list of Raf's obsessions is the love for uniforms. Actually this is probably the most constant influence of his career, always updated and adapted to the current times in which Raf proposed it. Showing, once again, how an aesthetic obsession can become a stylistic reference. One of his latest collections, the Fall Winter 2019, is full of these oversized long-to-the-feet military coats proposed in the brightest possible hues drawing a modern and visionary new uniform. On the same side, for the Fall Winter 2017 Calvin Klein collection Raf has reworked the college mise as a contemporary uniform always keeping in mind the American collective consciousness.


During almost twenty five years we have witnessed all these aesthetics and we have been guided to learn how to decode them by a wise and astute prophet of fashion. Raf has achieved incredible results as a real pioneer and even though this visionary approach didn't fit with marketing choices in the past, he will keep sharing his brilliantly inspiring mindset with which the limits of fashion will be moved forward as he already did at every previous fashion show. We still don't know what is going to be his next move but we have no doubt it will be groundbreaking, adding new obsessions to the list or maybe creating new ways to express the ones he brought with him throughout all these years.  

bottom of page