For AW21, Raf Simons combined his long-standing aesthetic with a more mature yet still vibrant approach. The show started off as any Raf Simons show would; in an abandoned, post-soviet looking factory with Kraftwerk blaring out of the speakers. This was the second time that Raf has shown womenswear for his synonymous brand, yet there was an androgynous feel throughout. Both female and male models wore incredibly similar pieces and cuts, swimming in overflowing fabric seen in exaggerated outerwear and eye-catching flared trousers.
Alongside the classic pieces that we associate with the Belgian designer like the snood, the knitwear and the rampant use of polo necks, there was a sense of modernity to the show. Simons, who often plays with subtle hues decided to go nuclear on the colour palette, whether it was a pair of yellow flared trousers, cerulean gloves or a cherry red jacket. While the colours were bold, they were contrasted by the mature shapes and lines of each design, refining them to present an overall more sleek collection.
Quilted jackets were a heavily featured piece in the show. These oversized hunting-style jackets with exaggerated sleeves and unstructured shoulders is Simon’s way of announcing your new jacket for 2021. Paired with a polo neck and collared shirt, Simons has taken a traditionally more mature garment and turned it into something we’d see walking into a lecture hall at Central Saint Martins.
Taking a cue from the Eboys of TikTok, Simons sent most of his models down the runway sporting singular dangling earrings. Jewellery did not just pertain to ear lobes though, with many models wearing metallic skeleton-like bangles over the sleeves of collared white shirts. Many of these small shifts seen in the show are reminiscent of Simons’ work at Prada. The use of long gloves, rolled up sleeves and his new ‘R.SIMONS’ label shows that the designer is happy to take and give inspiration from his other role.
This show did not reinvent Raf Simons’ core aesthetic, however, it presented a revolution within the mind of the Belgian designer. It demonstrated a sense of newness, of Simons adapting, whether due to his tenure at Prada or his own desire to explore new trends. One thing’s for sure, it was still Raf, but this time though, he’s here to play.
You can watch the full AW21 Raf Simons show below.
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