Although he is now one of the indisputable kings of fashion, Raf Simons never took a single fashion course. Instead, he studied industrial design in Genk, Belgium, close to his hometown Neerpelt. Nevertheless he took an internship at the Walter Van Beirendonck Antwerp office while still at school, citing fashion as a major point of interest. Afterwards Raf started working as a furniture designer, but gradually grew unhappy with this direction. In 1995, after moving to Antwerp and meeting up with Linda Loppa, head of the fashion department at the city’s Royal Academy, he decided to switch career. Obsessed both by traditional and rebellious dress codes of present and past youth cultures, Raf distilled a groundbreaking new style from these inspirations. From his first collection for autumn/winter 1995, he drew a tight, linear silhouette executed in classic materials that encapsulated references like English schoolboys, gothic music, punk, Kraftwerk and Bauhaus architecture. Despite international acclaim, Raf surprisingly shut down his company after presenting his autumn/winter 1999 collection, in order to take a sabbatical and rearrange the internal structure of his business. After sealing a close co-operation with Belgian manufacturer CIG, Raf returned for autumn/winter 2000 with a new, multi-layered and radical look, worn as ever by non-professional models scouted on the streets of Antwerp. These teenage boys were the subject of a collaboration with David Sims, resulting in photographs compiled in a book called Isolated Heroes (1999). Raf designed the Ruffo Research men’s collections for two seasons in 1999. Since October 2000, he has taught fashion at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, and in February 2001 he guest edited The Inspiration Issue. In 2003 Raf curated two exhibitions (The Fourth Sex at Pitti Immagine, Florence, and Guided By Heroes in Hasselt, Belgium) and collaborated with Peter Saville on his autumn/winter 2003 collection Closer. In May 2005 it was announced that Raf would take over as creative director at Jil Sander – dedicating the autumn/winter 2009 collection to Sander. Following the closing of the original Hamburg Studio, Rashahana, the new Japanese owners of the label moved all staff to Milan. After six and a half years at the brand, AW12 was Raf’s last collection for Jil Sander, and in April 2012 he was named Artistic Director of Christian Dior.
Spring is sprung as Jeff Hahn and Madeleine Østlie shoot a fraternity of florals.
DIOR. Paris, 28/09/12
HOLLY SHACKLETON discusses Raf Simons’ Dior debut. Welcome to the future.
RAF SIMONS. Paris, 27/06/12
I would’ve wanted Peter to have read the following positive experiences.
RAF SIMONS: Once in a while a designer comes along with the ability to change the fashion industry forever.
One of my closest friends and my right hand at Jil Sander is Patrick.
JIL SANDER. Milan, 25/02/12.
Raf brings back black. Alright?!
JIL SANDER. Milan, 24/09/11
Natasha Poly makes something super beautiful on the cover of The Pick Me Up Issue. Phwoar.
JIL SANDER: A New Dawn
Paris, 25/06/11. Raf Simons. Click here for more.
Milan, 18/06/11. Jil Sander. Click image for more
If fashion is a factory of dreams, then the annual Hyères fashion festival is its stimulus. With €25,000 at the en
Milan, 26/02/11. Click image for more.
Top 10 Anniversaries 2010.
Wishful thinking – my parents thought I would be a footballer!
As seen in The Masculine Issue. February 2005. Photography David Armstrong. Styling Panos Yiapanis. Selected Clothing
As seen in The Renaissance Issue. March 2001. Photography Corinne Day. Styling and Set Design Panos Yiapanis. Selecte
Guest Edited by Raf Simons.
Photography Willy Vanderperre. Styling Olivier Rizzo.
As seen in The Inspiration Issue, February 2001.
Chloe and Robbie. Photography by Willy Vanderperre. Styling by Olivier Rizzo.