Long Nguyen is the co-founder and style director of Flaunt
PARIS–A hallmark of a great designer is his ability make an audience understand his work across various collection–to be able make connections between them. Raf Simons did just that two nights ago at his spectacular men’s show inside a small gallery on the edge of the Bastille, reframing his eponymous menswear collection within the context of his new gig at Dior.
That rigid wool bow tie in the opening look was also the accessory of the pantsuit look in his debut Dior ready to wear show last October. And you could see his Dior couture skills in the refined cut of an A-line double-breasted wool coat–the back seams seemed to just disappear after they curved around the shoulder blades. But Simons also injected a sense of humor in the random placement of bars sewn across jacket lapels or at the bottom of the backs of coats.
A series of loose knee-length coats and slouchier suits defined a new silhouette in contrast to the fitted suiting that has been part of his menswear language for so long. The only fitted looks were the knitwear: Printed sweaters and sweater vests were worn over pointy-collared dress shirts.
The volume of the jackets and coats spoke to Simons’ shift to this new, more relaxed silhouette as well. It was as if abandoning his past was the only way to move forward.
Exiting the show into the crowded Rue de Lappe, where Parisians defied the frigid night to cram into the local restaurants and pubs, I recalled leaving the same Bastille area years back when Simons showed his menswear for the first time in Paris. Back then he changed the course of men’s fashion as this collection surely will do today.