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Where the runway meets the street

After making his stateside debut last season at New York Fashion Week: Men’s, Raf Simons is back to present his Spring/Summer 2018 collection. We’ll be updating this post with more info on the venue, the collection, the guests, and the trends we see as they happen on the runway.

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen a New York fashion show as mind blowing as this one. In some ways, it reminded jaded editors, buyers, and clothing nerds of why fell in love with fashion in the first place. Raf Simons’ Spring/Summer 2018 collection reinforced how he uses clothing as a platform that blurs the line between escapism and self-expression, and between art and commerce.

Taking two different inspirations—Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner and the album art of Peter Saville, Blade Runner’s message of the fear of technological advancement and questioning what it means to be human worked especially well with the Saville motifs of New Order and Joy Division. Raf Simons didn’t simply put out his greatest hits, he remastered them for a new generation.

The Venue

Located underneath a bridge in the heart of Chinatown, Raf Simons opted to show his collection at a typical Chinese night market. Playing into the collection’s nods to the film Blade Runner, it’s also another return-to-roots for the designer. The show was standing only, as opposed to last season’s seated affair. It’s a callback to Simons’ previous shows which emulated the feeling of busy nightclubs and other ambiences that enhanced the mood of the collection.

The summer heat enhanced the ambience of the venue, and honestly by the time the clothes hit the runway it was unnoticeable. Chinese lanterns hung from the ceiling emblazoned with the art of Peter Saville, who famously did album art for Joy Division and New Order. The waves of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures popped up again, as well as nods to New Order’s Movement and Substance.

Neon signs carried the Blade Runner motif forward, especially one that read “REPLICANTS” next to a dragon, a reference to the synthetic humanoids from the Ridley Scott film. Carts handed out cans of Tsingtao beer and Fiji water to attendees in need of a refreshment.

The Guestlist

Fashion editors and notable industry figures were present, ranging from Poggy the Man of United Arrows to Aleali May and star designer Marc Jacobs. Also amongst the notable celebrity clienteles in attendance were Julianne Moore, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ashton Sanders and A$AP Rocky.

The aforementioned rapper’s affinity for the designer has been well-documented in the past—of course penning a track shouting him out earlier this year.

When discussing Simons in the past, Rocky said, “When you wrap your mind around the concept that he wrote the future of fashion and design in the 1990s and early 2000s, then you’ll also understand why Raf is the greatest to ever do it.”

The Collection

Raf Simons returns with some of his greatest hits—remastered for the modern era. He again partners with iconic artist Peter Saville, digging through his archives to resurface graphics inspired by New Order and Joy Divsion. Though that art has become a trope revisited by other labels like Supreme and Undercover, Simons is the progenitor of the trend.

The other part of the collection pays homage to Ridley Scott’s classic 1982 sci-fi flick Blade Runner. The show emanated with the same vibe of the scene where Harrison Ford’s character Deckard eats Chinese food in the rain:

Models carried umbrellas and wore all manner of trenches, channeling the iconic one worn by Deckard throughout the film. Sure, with their picturesque features, models often look like Replicants, and while the clothes pay homage to costume designer Michael Kaplan, they also liberally use the film’s typeface in certain pieces. If you’re down for a long read, Typeset In the Future has a really good feature on Blade Runner‘s typography.

It’s a timely inspiration, considering the film is getting a sequel, Blade Runner: 2049, releasing later this year.

Music-wise, Raf Simons stayed true to his reputation of genre-bending soundtracks, mixing a variety of songs while straying from the expected Vangelis soundtrack associated with Blade Runner.

The Accessories

Raf Simons continues his collaboration with Eastpak on timely pouches in duck canvas and bright floral patterns, along with matching bucket hats. In keeping with the rain theme, shoes included long galoshes rendered in colors that coordinate with the collection.

Patent leather backpacks also featured, and models walked the show carrying umbrellas, some with LED lights to make them look more like lightsabers. If those actually are included in the collection, they’re sure to be a hot item.

New sneakers include a new adidas collaboration, the Detroit Runner, monotone plimsolls in hues like purple, red, and olive green, with militaristic tread soles. Also shown were new slides, the adidas Adilette gets an update in checkerboard.

The Trend Takeaways

Raf Simons re-examines spring layering, mixing oversized topcoats and trenches with jersey dickies. Sleeveless coats look like they’re going to be a wave. Graphic trenches emblazoned with Joy Division album art are sure to be a street style hit. Shirts that mix album art from New Order and Joy Division are also instantly covetable.

Tailoring also gets a makeover, mixing classic grid checks with a relaxed approach. Luxurious fabrics like crocodile elevate fireman’s strap coats, which are also repurposed on oversized knitwear.

For more New York Fashion Week: Men’s goodness, check out the latest prep-inspired collection from N. Hoolywood.

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