Just days before showing his first collection as Calvin Klein’s artistic director, Raf Simons presented his eponymous brand’s Fall-Winter 2017/18 collection held at the Gagosian Gallery’s 21st Street space, in New-York.
True to the designer’s urban and grunge spirit, the Fall-Winter 2017/18 collection borrowed gothic, androgynous vibes. But above all it evoked homage to the Big Applet at night. Using only the finest materials, Raf Simons focused on knitwear in this collection, including wide knit sweaters printed with an « NY » logo, oversized mittens worn over a black satin coat, and striped cropped knits.
The arrival of the Belgian designer on American soil as artistic director of Calvin Klein coincided with the arrival of a demagogue at the reins of power, cultivating a climate of xenophobia, fear of the Other and intolerance. With messages like « I Love You », « Youth Project » or « Out of this nightmare », the collection referred to the American Nightmare by delivering a message of love and a scream of revolt. The stake of this collection was thus to combine a somewhat loose, delicate and sensitive appearance, representative of the current climate of fear in the United States and a more assumed and demanding attitude.
Androgyny formed a major aspect of the silhouette, as evidenced by necklaces and waists cinched by adhesive tape printed with « I Love You » in the same typeface as the iconic « I Love New York » tees. Each of these details – the wide knit mitts worn over a long classic overcoat and the adhesive tape – imbue the silhouette with a much more urban and grunge style. On the other hand, large knit pullovers convey a more relaxed look that forms a contrast with classic black pants. To wrap things up, colors like orange, purple, yellow, and green give the outfit a less conventional look, further emphasizing the grunge look when combined with black.
As the United States is facing a crual Nightmare, Raf Simons stands up and speaks out. « You have to bring things that stand against it. I think we all have to activate » says Simons at backstage show. For the belgian designer, who just arrived in New-York, this first collection was clearly a message of love to his new hometown as a message of solidarity and support; because let’s face it, Trump at power is likely to affect each one of us, no matter where we come from.
Photos: © RAF SIMONS
Written by Lisa Tomasi