June 26, 2012 Paris
Both were on parade here, the Green Velvet club classic on the soundtrack a reminder of the Antwerp nights kids like him never wanted to end, the bare legs and tangled hair tokens of the vulnerable self-consciousness that comes with a certain age. But if that was Raf's past, he was keen to explore how it could fuse with his future. And if it was physically impossible to fuse time, he would do it with gender.
In one of Kurt Cobain's most memorable portraits, he's wearing a floral dress. That grunge memory resurfaced in Raf's collection when he sealed the back of a pleated floral sundress to the front of a sober tailored coat. It was the most startling expression of the current of androgyny that pulsed through the show. Others: the shorts with their perverse little slit; the perforated tops that could have been Aertex mesh or broderie anglaise; the huge painted faces by L.A. artist Brian Calvin that decorated oversize tees, with their staring eyes. "I love eyes," the designer said. He loves a challenge too, because he feels challenges initiate communication. Hell, the conversation between the Dior woman and the Raf man has already started.