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April 18 2014

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94 posts tagged "Raf Simons"

Raf, Irreverent:
The Designer On His Dior Debut

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Raf Simons has been remarkably upbeat all week. You might imagine the pressure of a debut on Christian Dior’s haute couture stage would weigh heavy on someone who made his rep as the shaman of modern menswear, but he was in fist-pumpin’, high-fivin’, kid-in-a-candy-store form when we crossed paths at Dior HQ the other day. You dream, and you have the elves to turn that dream into crystalline reality. Who wouldn’t feel good? Still, I thought it was charming that Raf brought Cris Brodahl paintings from his Antwerp, Belgium, apartment to make his post-show interview room feel a little more like home. Oh, and about those interviews…


You’ve never done interviews on camera before. That’s a big change of heart.
I guess so. It’s been 17 years, and it’s fantastic to come in a place where you’re finally well understood. That’s probably a huge difference. Plus the possibility to have ideas realized almost automatically—I’ve never¬†experienced that before.

It was a wonderful show, but I can’t say I’m surprised. There was something so purely logical about it.
I think so, yes. I’ve been very much involved with the period that Christian Dior defined, 1947 to 1957, and it seemed to me very normal to jump into it and work with that, to work with the archive and see how it can be modernized. And also to change the psychology of people who are interested in couture. The way I’ve been looking at it so far is as a still image, something you look at for that moment. I think lots of people see it as a still, an image from the red carpet. I want to make it more dynamic, appeal to a person who has a different energy. A younger person, in mind, not necessarily in age.¬†And I think couture is very much about curating something unique for women. Fashion is so mass-produced now; I hope there will come a refocus on how people see couture. And I would also hope for a new focus on the craft.

What struck me in the show was the tension between classic couture tropes and a new take on them.
I’m attracted by both. Take things from the archives, then reenergize them in acid yellow or electric blue, colors that weren’t part of the Christian Dior aesthetic. I like to juxtapose elements.

In a way, it’s a paradox. You need to be reverent, but also irreverent, to move forward.
It’s mind-blowing when you start investigating what is done here. But I want to approach it with a new energy. I’m interested to see how people will pick up on it.

How important do you think it is that you’re an outsider?
I don’t really know. I know I was seen as avant-garde. Maybe that’s why I look at it a little more differently. I’m not frozen by it. I make suggestions. My challenge is to find a beautiful balance: to make women beautiful, to make a woman dream to wear a beautiful outfit. The show was about beauty in a natural way. It was very freeing; it offered a lot of possibilities. That’s why I didn’t want it story-based. Think of it as a blueprint.

Photo: Getty Images

New Designer, New Name At YSL, And More Of Today’s Top Stories

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Hedi Slimane (pictured) is starting his new post with a bang. The new creative director of Yves Saint Laurent has announced plans to change the name of the French fashion house from Yves Saint Laurent to Saint Laurent Paris and a return to the label’s original branding. [WWD]

In other French fashion house news, Raf Simons is getting ready for his debut at Christian Dior. And with a new designer comes a new venue. Simons is on the lookout for a fresh place to show his first collection for the house on July 2 during Paris Couture. Rumor has it, he has his eyes on a vacant hotel near the Arc de Triomphe. [WWD]

Elton John lent his musical talents to Clear Channel and MediaLink on Tuesday night. The icon played a private gig for the world’s most high-powered “Mad Men” at the Hotel du Cap-Eden Roc, where a VIP bash was thrown as part of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. [Page Six]

With model Stephanie Seymour and industrialist/art collector/publisher of Interview Peter Brant as their parents, 15-year-old Harry Brant and his 18-year-old brother Peter Jr. have taken the throne as the new princes of New York City. On his ever-evolving style, Harry says, “I used to wear only overalls, Alaïa T-shirts, and my mom’s Manolo Blahnik loafers.” Not a bad getup, if you ask us. [NYT]

 

 

 

Photo: PatrickMcMullan.com

 

Perfect Gowns

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Part Two of the sweeping Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology’s exhibit Fashion, A-Z opened at noon today. At this morning’s preview, editors, who trekked through the dreary mist, were cheered up by the sights of famous ball gowns and sparkling cocktail attire. “I’m always wowed by Charles James,” said the exhibit’s co-curator Jennifer Farley. She was nodding to a strapless silk taffeta gown the color of a dusty rose (pictured), from the actress Lisa Kirk, that could have doubled for sculpture. “I’ve heard that he was difficult to work with, but he was a perfectionist,” Farley added.

James, of course, was not alone in his technical feats. In contrast to Part One of the exhibition (originally called The Great Designers: Part One), Farley and Colleen Hill showcased some of the big American names, like a jewel-encrusted Ralph Lauren long-sleeved gown, a black and ivory chiffon red-carpet number by Hollywood costume designer Irene Lentz, and a purple silk jersey Norman Norell stunner from 1965, glittering with sequins that had been hand-sewn and reinforced individually. “To think there was that kind of quality in ready-to-wear,” Farley wondered aloud.

Of the 60-plus looks, there were also neat tie-ins. In one section, there was a short-sleeved dress by Pierre Balmain. Further into the exhibit, Balmain’s mentor Edward Molyneux was represented. And for runway fans, there were current pieces as well, which might inspire nostalgia. In wide white and blue striped silk, a Raf Simons for Jil Sander floor-length dress from Spring 2011 was modern and sporty, which contrasted with an unforgettable Chantilly lace black ball gown by Olivier Theykens for Rochas directly across the walkway. The romantic nighttime look, from the Spring 2004 collection, is sure to elicit some sighs.

Fashion A-Z, Part Two at the Museum at FIT, Seventh Ave. at 27th St. On view May 23 to November 10.

Photo: Courtesy of The Museum at FIT

On The Campaign Trail With LN-CC

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The London e-commerce and by-appointment boutique LN-CC is moving quickly from an insider’s secret—it’s name-checked as a favorite by the likes of J.W. Anderson, who included it on a list of his London must-visits in Issue 02 of Style.com/Print, and Phillip Lim—to a retail leader. So perhaps it was only a matter of time before the shop tried out a campaign. The five-part series they’ve created for Spring has launched quietly over the past few weeks on LN-CC.com, but the impact, according to brand director Dan Mitchell, has been immediate. “I’m actually very surprised,” he admitted to Style.com. “The response has been fantastic.” The men’s and women’s shots, styled by creative director John Skelton and shot by the in-house LN-CC team, were lensed not in London but worldwide. The store’s reach may be growing, but it remains an inside player in some respects. Fashion obsessives will recognize one of the men’s models from the first campaign as Robbie Snelders, Raf Simons’ muse and righthand man. A follow-up for Fall is soon to be in the works.

Photos: Ben Benoliel and Rory Van Millingen / Courtesy of LN-CC

Modern Art And Kraft

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Minimalism is in the air. Despite Raf Simons’ protestations that he isn’t only a minimalist, the word has hung over his collections and informed the discussion about his taking over at Dior. Meanwhile, one of fashion’s most famous minimalists, Jil Sander, is headed back to the house she founded (and Simons vacated). Minimal chic has ruled the runway these past few seasons, even if Fall brought with it a hint of the baroque. And at the Museum of Modern Art last night, minimal came back in a big way: Minimal pioneers Kraftwerk returned to the stage for the first of an eight-night retrospective. Each night is loosely devoted to a performance and on-screen “3-D visualization” of one of the band’s studio albums, ranging from Autobahn (1974) last night through Tour de France (2003).

Simons, for what it’s worth, is an outspoken Kraftwerk fan who’s created men’s shows inspired by the seminal electronic group. So is Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA’s chief curator-at-large, who dreamed up the retrospective of sound and image for a lucky few. The museum’s Marron Atrium, where the shows are held, has a capacity of only 450 people.

Last night brought together such strange bedfellows as Kim Cattrall and Terence Koh, who danced to a smattering of Kraftwerk’s most influential hits. Opting for a white plastic jumpsuit made by designer Mary Ping, Koh looked the most prepared in the room for any potential effects of “Radioactivity,” which displayed as 3-D text from the stage’s screen while the band played the title song of their 1975 album, which made for the darkest, most political moment of the evening.

Politics aside, for those lucky enough to have tickets to tonight’s, or any of the remaining, performances, prepare to be wowed. The current members of Kraftwerk are in full form, and are as sonically and visually intriguing as ever. And for those still reeling in lament over MoMA’s faulty, non-Ticketmaster-like approach to ticket sales for an event as monumental as eight back-to-back Kraftwerk shows, all hope is not yet lost. As part of the complete Kraftwerk-Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, a presentation of Kraftwerk’s historical audio and visual material will be on view in the Performance Dome of MoMA’s sibling museum, PS1, from today until May 14, which is sure to be almost as maximal as having seen the band live.

Photo: Benjamin Lozovsky / BFAnyc.com