Raf Simons unveils spring 2018 collection under a bridge in Chinatown
On July 11, 2017 at 9:45pm, major players in the American fashion press, Hollywood actors, musicians and fashion designers huddled to a bridge underpass in Chinatown to see the Raf Simons spring 2018 collection.
Leave it to the Belgian designer to find a unique and unexpected locale to hold the second fashion show of his namesake label in New York City, and to guarantee a packed house with fashion’s elite and influencers.
Simons held his fall 2017 runway show in New York City in February during New York Fashion Week: Men’s, and on Tuesday, his encore had a packed house, even with a non-traditional space.
The open-air venue was decorated with neon signs and symbols, as well as red and white lanterns that looked like they were hanging at the space long before Simons moved to New York City in 2016. The white lanterns, in particular, were original for the show and featured references to the band New Order.
Peter Saville, the English art director and graphic designer who designed album covers, inspired part of the collection and the show's experience, but the central theme for the spring 2018 collection and venue is the film Blade Runner. The venue referenced scenes from the film and decorations like the neon signs.
Marc Jacobs was present for the show and shared a few selfies on Twitter as he waited in the humid, New York City summer heat for the show to begin. One of his selfies included rapper and Raf Simons fan A$AP Rocky, who entered the open air venue with Ashton Sanders, the Moonlight actor and face of Calvin Klein Underwear. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal and actress Julianne Moore arrived just prior to the show’s start and major fashion players such as Julie Gilhart, Matthew Henson, and Nick Sullivan were in attendance.
An ominous hush fell on the audience just before the show began, and smoke emerged as rock music blared from the overhead speakers. The ambience was undoubtedly ‘punk,’ which is often Simons’ inspiration. Attendees sipped their drinks and stood in puddles, which would be expected for an outdoor, impromptu rock concert.
The first look of the collection set the tone for the show and featured a rubberized raincoat, see-through umbrella, and a small digital ticker display on the back of the jacket.
The models were well prepared for the rain in the forecast, carrying umbrellas of varying designs, including glowing umbrella shafts and handles and ripped canopies. Revamped preppy styles like plaid ponchos and coats and oversized button down shirts were met with off-shoulder knitwear and topcoats.
Standout pieces from the collection included shirts that featured the word ‘replicant,’ a nod to Blade Runner, New Order graphics that were layered over outerwear, two-tone coats, sleeveless shirts and long high-waisted skirts on the few female models that walked the show.
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