January 21, 2011 Paris
And shape was the operative word. There were suggestions of the designer's ongoing fascination with haute couture in silhouettes that lightly caped a coat back, unseamed and rounded a shoulder, or boxed a jacket. (If couture is craftsmanship, was that mohair apron a gentle reminder of the craftsman at his workbench?) The maximal spirit Simons has been talking about since mid-2010 was obvious from the outset, with a camel coat wrapping a high-collared latex top. Likewise, the vivid shades that colored elongated knits, the coats, and oversize tunics. One example in orange closed with toggles down the back, a duffel in reverse.
The duffel coat was a cornerstone of the collection. Another was the parka. As these student classics implied, Simons had college on his mind. His young idealists could wear a bonded flannel sweatshirt advertising their allegiance to Dead Prince College or declaring that they were a Memory Ware Collector (making them fans of the artist Mike Kelley's work, like Raf). If this was Simons' way of saying he still had plenty to learn, his "college" clothes managed a techno precision that made you realize just how far he's come from the hand-collaged rawness and urgency of, say, his Manic Street Preachers collection. In that respect, this show assuredly started the next phase of his career.
At the beginning and end, the soundtrack producer Michel Gaubert played Marcus Schmickler's Palace of Marvels (Queered Pitch), a piece of music that began with a steadily ascendant electronic roar. It was the sound of someone taking off to somewhere new.