Raf Simons' Punk Adolescent New Wave at Paris Fashion Week Men's SS19

"I wanted to do it in a way where you didn't get the typical ingredients. No safety pins or studs. No black leather."

Raf Simons was inspired by the moment in which punk morphed into new wave, without his Spring 17 collection relying on clich├ęs of the era. "I was thinking, 'How could I do it a way that doesn't grab the typical ingredients?'" Simons said. "Do it yourself meets the opposite." For the first time in four seasons, and since settling into his arrival as creative director at Calvin Klein in the States, Raf was back showing in Paris after a two-year hiatus. Only this show wasn't in Paris exactly, but in a club in Montreuil - a 50 minute metro journey outside of the capital. Raf has garnered the respect over his twenty-plus-year-old fashion career to know that everyone will turn up to his show, wherever the location and whatever the time. This show started at 10:30pm.

"We need a new outline," said Raf Simons after his Spring/Summer 2019 show on Wednesday night. The collection featured heavily on oversized, loose tailoring for men, however, they were finished in Paris Couture-grade female satins. Raf built his career on cool tailoring for boys and one other specific item of clothing leaps to mind; the hoodie. Raf Simons doesn't only set trends for those within and associated with fashion, he sets trends culturally for a much wider audience, for a societal change. His latest show was his backlash against streetwear. "Too many hoodies with prints," Simons said. "I know I was part of it, but too many hoodies with prints! There was not even one in the show. You know something needs to shift."

As for the tailoring, "I was thinking of Yves Saint Laurent, when he was doing his incredible colour combinations." for examples, a long green duchess satin coat was worn on top of a hot pink roll neck sweater, another clashed marigold against pink, another teal and hot pink. "Everything except the jersey and a couple of menswear suits was made from duchess satin." The opening look was surprising, a white knee-length satin coat with it's back decorated with a grid of wide-spaced silver-chrome bubble studs, which Simons went on to say was inspired by Jean Royere, one of his favourite furniture designers. It became obvious that Raf had once spent a few years heading up a couture atelier at one of Paris' leading fashion houses, Christian Dior.

Coats and tailoring were precise and technically demanding in their need for precision - duchess satin needs to be masterfully cut. There were however some experimental cuts on t-shirts and on knits. Knits had extra armholes and t-shirts were rotated by 90 degrees, a sleeve removed to make way for a neck whole and came printed with archive images of punk new wave kids from late 70's / early 80's London. Models also carried what was an intelligent twist on six-packs of beer to signify delinquency - they also came strung into a punk-like vest. "Like when kids hang out, carrying their beers," as Simons put it. "but also, like Paco Rabanne."

Few models even sported heavy, dark androgynous eyeshadow as they stomped the runway in heavy-soled boots to Bauhaus' goth hit "Bella Lugosi's Dead." The band's look was graphic and austere, as if the chaos and punk had been washed away almost. As always with Raf Simons, there is a romanticised throwback to misspent youth. And as always, this was beautifully done.

Images courtesy of Dazed Digital and Vogue Runway

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