RUNWAY: Raf Simons SS17Raf Simons' Spring/Summer 2017 show traveled to Florence to showcase a grown up collection that was filled with sexual references, complemented by the work of others. Unlike other designers, Simons is giving in his praise and acknowledgement of influence. Here, he was influenced by famed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, whose photographs were printed onto the clothes. Mapplethorpe's homoerotic photographs of his subjects, sometimes nude, sometimes not, were seen on shirts, bags and everything in between. There was even a shirt with a photo of an erect penis. The resulting collection was quite striking and was filled with sexual references and subversion, take the leather hats, belts worn around the neck like a leash and the unbuttoned knits revealing bare skin or an image from the Mapplethorpe's archives.
The American references, like business shirts (oversized, disheveled like after a quick romp, hanging off the models), could be a sign of where Simons' mind is in. Particularly one American city: New York City. Rumor has it that Simons is soon to take up the creative directorship at Calvin Klein in August (after his non-compete with LVMH ends in July), overseeing both men's and women's. Mapplethorpe is one of New York's most famous sons and this collection could be signaling the big shift for Simons and his eponymous label. Regardless of his next move, Simons seems to be moving his collection forward in a more mature, sex-infused direction. Perfect for the house that Calvin built.