Photos: Katherine Lowe
You know you've got yourself a hot ticket show when invited guests are being turned away at the door. So it was at Raf Simons tonight, amidst reports that the designer's namesake company has cut ties with its licensee Futurenet, and cancelled all buying appointments in Paris. (According to sources, the collection is now being wholesaled out of Milan, though nobody has come forward to say how it will be financed, should it be put into production.) With rumours flying that this could be Simons' final show, the pressure to perform must have been huge. And boy oh boy did he deliver.
Named The Dead Prince College, a strong Ivy League thread ran through the entire collection. It focussed on a staple garment of the collegiate set: the duffel coat (like Simons, a Belgian original), here presented in a multitude of varieties. They included a purple neoprene version with patch pockets and hood, and a cropped and boy scout-esque jacket in classic tan wool.
Also reinvented was the college sweater – made over in neoprene – though still advertising the wearer's educational institution: The Dead Prince College. A tee shirt was remade in technicoloured striped wool, a definite highlight of an all-round incredible collection.
The look was clean, fresh, brilliant.
When it was over, a crowd of such magnitude stormed the backstage area that Simons, overwhelmed, began to cry. All were there to proclaim their support for the designer. But the question still remains: when the orders are written, will that support be enough?
Long live the prince!
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