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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



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Raf Simons’s New Technical Tailoring

Godfrey Deeny
January 24th, 2010 @ 00:22 AM - Paris

Far and away the most contemporary men’s fashion collection of the current season in Europe was unveiled late Saturday night, Jan. 23, by designer Raf Simons.

Part ground breaking new paradigm in tailoring, part heroic take on the new global travelers and part homage to the current indie patrician aesthetic, this collection was as fresh a take on men’s clothing as we’ve seen for several seasons, anywhere.

Take Simons’ bread and butter suit, cut with drainpipe pants, and narrow lapel but broad shouldered double-breasted jacket; frequently finished with white buttons that looked almost sprayed onto the garment. These element combined to make a suit that managed to be spiffy and professional yet avant-garde all at the same time.

It’s been a season of contrasts in Paris – meaning jacket sleeves come in different fabrics or colors to jacket torsos, and boots’ uppers come in different materials and finishes to their feet.

Nobody took this to more extremes than Simons, whose raincoats were beige and technically coated up top, but anthracite dry wool below the waist.

Staged in Paris one day before the city begins its haute couture season, the show also featured lots of couture-like ideas, such as pagoda shaped, layered trench coats with elegantly engineered flaps.

The designer also tapped into a major French trend, wrapped jackets; where the buttons are hidden and the jacket crossed over the center of the torso, three or four inches. It gives a pleasingly multi-dimensional touch to the clothing, plus a sense of humor.

Probably one guy in a million will walk out the door of his home dressed in this designer’s ribbed wool sweater dresses. Which is a pity, as the models looked sensational, and their presence on the runway added to the sense of occasion.

Remarkably, Simons has re-invented himself from a fledgling designer who made homages to revolutionary youth protestors to a mature and sophisticated inventor of a new patrician dandy wardrobe.

The designer’s early training in furniture was also apparent in many ways, whether through color blocking – he placed contrasting stripes, and collage effects on one third of the outfits – and the silhouette of the bigger coats, which recalled settee arm shapes.

“I didn’t want any limits when I was creating this collection. I wanted to let my imagination run,” the designer explained.

Simons sportingly took his bow, arm over the shoulder of his departing design assistant Pieter Mulier, before a cheering crowd in the Jeu de Paume. Theirs was the most impressive fashion home run seen in European men’s fashion for Fall 2010.

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