SS16 Isolated Heroes by Raf Simons
Raf Simons x VIER : Homecoming King
After his shocking departure at Dior, the entire fashion world has been waiting for Raf Simons' next move with bated breath. Being the most Googled fashion designer of 2015, reviews full of praise and a huge rise in sales for Dior was apparently not what Simons expected out of his relationship with the enormous French fashion house. Rumors have suggested the split was due to constant pressure on Simons, with a massive workload and limited artistic freedom and the designer unable to take a short break in between collections for inspirational research. Neither Dior or Simons have commented on the speculation and only communicated a short statement announcing they'd be going their separate ways. And so S/S 2016 not only sees the departure of Raf Simons from Dior but also the return of Simons to his own work. A small menswear collection reviving the '99 Simons/Sims collaboration Isolated Heroes has officially landed and Antwerp premium streetwear store VIER is amongst the lucky few to exclusively sell the collection of collectibles.
A Return To The Simons DNA
In the summer of 1999, an exciting collaboration between British photographer David Sims and Raf Simons took place. A series of photographs, later bundled into a book, featured Simons's all male models, dressed in his Spring-Summer 2000 collection. Each boy was then credited with a serial number and his own first name. The photographs were originally intended as an in-house series to be continued as a work in progress but ended up as a sort of published manifesto against the show-off culture and opulence seen in fashion photography and advertising at the time. Typically Simons-minimalist in it's setting, Raf's aesthetic captured in the book has since been known as the Raf trademark.
Until the Dior shows that is, they were world apart from Simons' original heyday. Simons took on huge womenswear classics such as Mr. Dior's very own Tailleur-Bar and succesfully re-imagined them for the 21st century woman. In the 2015 documentary “Dior And I” Raf described himself as “not a minimalist.” It was true at the time, his Dior shows definitely weren't minimalist. But given the fact Raf returns with a revival of a project so close to his original minimal aesthetic might suggest he is happier to return to his original DNA rather than try to be the massive Parisian couture designer he's not. Maybe, just maybe. Only time will tell as Simons is set to present his own F/W 16-17 menswear show soon. Will he return with typical Raf minimalism with a nod to his previous work? Or will he continue to innovate on his own? Betting on the latter, but we'll stay tuned. So should you.
In the meantime, “SS16 Isolated Heroes” by Raf Simons is exclusively available at VIER Antwerp and is a major collectible amongst the in-crowd.
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Text by Laurent James – Instagram.com/iamlaurentjames
Photographs via Raf Simons
Thanks to Lies Van Geel & Ikram Annouri