FashionWe Break Down Raf Simons's Hugely Influential Fall Collection (and Show You Where to Buy the Best Pieces)
Raf Simons's collection of apocalyptic prep is one of his best ever. Here we explain what makes it so good, identify the highlights, and show you exactly where you can buy the pieces that are destined to become collectors' items.
Raf Simons designed his first menswear collection in 1995. In the 21 years since, the Neerpelt, Belgium, native has remained at the center of fashion's sphere of influence. He's rebooted major luxury houses as the creative head of Jil Sander and Christian Dior, and is now beginning his most high-profile design position yet, as chief creative officer of Calvin Klein. His frequent collaborations are always blockbusters, whether with mass-market heavyweights like Adidas and Fred Perry or museum-grade artists like Sterling Ruby and, via his estate, Robert Mapplethorpe. Even his personal wardrobe has become a beacon of influence: The proliferation of Stan Smiths the last couple of years? Simons made them his signature shoe before he started remixing them in pastel colors with Adidas. And, to this day, his archive stays relevant: It's become a badge of honor for megastars like Rihanna and Travis Scott to resurrect clothes from certain Raf Simons seasons (especially the 2001 collection titled Riot, Riot, Riot and the 2003 collaboration with Factory Records graphic designer Peter Saville).
All of which is to say: At age 48, Simons has already accomplished more than most designers would dare to dream, and yet with each season, his influence grows. Fall 2016 is a high-water mark. Amid a storm of rumors and speculation about what his future holds Simons clapped back, reminding us that he's still the only menswear designer who can make mobs of people covet a whacked-out letterman sweater that looks like it survived zombie warfare.
“My brand has never stood for a classic wardrobe, which is what most men's brands represent,” Simons has said. Instead this collection, called Nightmares and Dreams, came with show notes listing a seemingly disparate range of inspirations: Twin Peaks, Halloween, American youth, CBGB, The Breakfast Club. As always, Simons is channeling the unruly disenchantment of youth, this time with the dial turned all the way up: supersize bubble coats, slim black slacks, and polished combat boots. The models, with their center-parted hair, look like a gang of miscreant elementary schoolers who've looted the locker room at the local high school. Apparently, the extreme proportions of the sweaters and coats are a tribute to one of Simons's most important influences, that other Belgian icon of high fashion, Martin Margiela. But the attitude—menacing, indomitable, fearless—is all Raf.
Like all Raf collections, this one is sure to be a favorite among editors and collectors—Rihanna’s already been spotted rocking the oversized bubble—so start making your e-commerce moves now. To help you out we’ve collected the best pieces from Raf Simons’ fall 2016 available to buy now. Check them out below.