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Raf Simons’ last men’s collection for Jil Sander was dark and serious, bringing back black. One tweet called it “serial killer chic”. His last women’s collection for Jil was the complete opposite: dreamy pastels, confident reds, and florals in flirty silhouettes. With these contrasting images in our heads, we waited for his SS13 offering last night, whilst listening to Nirvana’s Nevermind album playing in the background of the venue. As the show started, the models didn’t. Until we looked up and saw them striding around a balcony and descending a flight of stairs to get to eye level. With greasy grungy hair hiding their beautiful faces, Kurt Cobain’s line “Come as your are, doused in mud, soaked in bleach, as I want you to be”, came to life. The first few looks were strict and slick, black and white, and seemed to be a progression of the last mens’ show for Jil. The boys wore crisp white shirts with oversized pointy collars, graphic pointy pockets, and short black shorts. But then came the dreamy pastels of his last women’s collection, evolved to orange Harrington jackets and lovely block pink or block red trench-length, but not quite trench coats. Following that, loud illustrations of a girl’s face and cat eyes adorned T-shirts and short-sleeved shirts and coats went from block navy on the front to bright floral on the back. The boys wore either smart lace ups or lary trainers. Whenever you thought you’d got it, it changed, and that element of surprise ran throughout, in clever ways you would never think of unless you were Raf Simons. Interviewed by Terry Jones and Holly Shackleton for The Lights, Camera, Action Issue, Raf said of his label in the early days, “[it] was very much linked to my own past and to my own environment, which was not as corporate-city-slick as Helmut’s. It was dirtier, darker, more underground…” Though he has come a long, long way since he started designing, and helmed some of the biggest houses in the world, that “darker, dirtier, more underground” spirit could still be used to describe his collection last night, except he’s definitely mastered the city-slick too. As we wait for his Dior debut, it was good to see Raf in his element, true to his roots and undoubtedly, master of his trade.
Text: Sarah Raphael
Photography: Mitchell Sams
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