Raf Simons‘s second New York show proved it was the only presentation that mattered for the Big Apple’s fashion week festivities. With so many other big name brands exiting “Gotham” and opting for European venues to showcase their latest collections, Simons instead took to NYC with uncanny fervor. In the heart of Chinatown, a food market was transformed into a sci-fi inspired stage filled with neon lights, glowing Chinese lanterns, and scrolling LED signs that displayed the word “Replicant.” This was practically a set for Blade Runner, the movie Mr. Simons himself referenced for his collection and stage design.
At the heart of it all, however, were the clothing and they were nothing short of awe-inspiring. If 2018 spring/summer was about “movies” (Blade Runner), “Asian cultures,” “new wave,” and “punk” as Raf himself describes it, then his interpretation of all these things was an imaginative amalgam of a future where the actual clashing of cultures has an optimistic outcome. Models were draped in layers of striking plaid, fitted with Peter Saville’s Joy Division and New Order-printed pieces, had on balaclava style caps, and carried umbrellas as well as glowed-up lanterns. There was an element of protection here, but the armor needn’t be dark or dreary. The wares weren’t for the apocalypse but for a futuristic city that welcomed chaos, commerce, and most importantly, art. While Blade Runner was an ominous sci-fi film about the fear of technology and humans becoming less “human,” Raf Simons instead entertains the fact that films, music, and our devices are what actually urge us to evolve toward being more culturally “connected.” Hence, each outfit that made its way down the runway practically resembled the one before it. With the glaring lights shining over a smiling Raf as he waved for his curtain call, one thing’s for sure, the future (of humanity and the brand) is bright.