January 16, 2013 Paris
But the key that truly unlocked the collection might have been the recurring graphic motif of an abstract head framed by a question mark. (It looked a bit like the PBS logo.) "I've been questioning the whole idea of what is men's fashion now, where I would want it to go," Simons said. First on his hit list was a redefinition of silhouette. "The defined silhouette over the last six or seven years has been very Balenciaga-inspired for everyone, myself included. It's become a garderobe [a wardrobe] and it doesn't feel like high fashion that says something to me personally." Raf's solution? A shift in volume, away from slim pants and fitted blazers, and a move away from the notion of matching, toward something looser and less controlled, trouser hems touching the floor, sleeves stripped away. Then there were the shirt-cuffs unbuttoned, the collars pointing skyward, the sleeves hastily shoved up. OK, those last flourishes were stylist flimflam, but it wasn't hard to get the picture. And that picture's title? Kinetic Youth Returns.
The only other designer asking the questions that Simons asks in the way he asks them is Miuccia Prada, and there were discernible parallels with her work in the collection that he showed tonight. "No bonding, no neoprene, no futurist, just wool and cotton," he said of his fabrics. Into that, read this: you can go back to go forward. Look at Raf himself. We should all be so happy.