Long Nguyen is the co-founder and style director of Flaunt. Last night, for his eponymous menswear show, Raf Simons sent the fashion set to the airport. Sort of. The designer showed his Spring 2014 collection at the Gagosian Gallery, which is housed in an old hanger inside Le Bourget Airport, just north of Paris. Models walked among giant Alexander Calder mobiles and wooden Jean Prouvé structures, the perfect backdrop for a spectacular collection based on a new, looser silhouette and graphic Pop Art prints. Part of that new silhouette included a skort hybrid jumpsuit--a pretty daring offering for men--but it worked. That Simons chose to show his new collection set against Calder Prouvé's works is no arbitrary decision. Both artists' work explores the use of space and material to shape forms and movements--themes which are also central to Simons's designs. Simons kept his signature strict tailoring to a minimum with a cropped short silhouette, like the one button single-breasted jacket paired with a long print sweatshirt. The long haired model that opened the show in the black polo skort jumpsuit set the tone for a more relaxed and carefree collection. It reminded me of some of Simons's earlier work-- specifically 1997's 'Teenage Summer Camp' or 'Black Palms.' The show seemed to take a less intellectual approach to fashion than we've seen from Simons in the past few seasons--but that's not a bad thing. The silhouette and the ideas presented were simple, but they were also powerful.
I have been to all of Simons's men’s shows since the very beginning, in 1997, and to my surprise, this was the first time I saw decorations on his clothes. The multi-color sequined embroidered patterns on a black long sweatshirt worn with a mixed cotton perforated hooded coat was really a joy to see and to feel in this show. The graphic tops, printed with words like 'Super Nylon,' 'Clusters,' or with a kind of Dada-ist collage of poster images and words were also standouts.