If all the “I heart New York white and black tees worn under every look are any indication Raf Simons has embraced New York with open arms. As the designer takes up the mantel of creative director at Calvin Klein, he also shifted his own two decades old, cult menswear from Paris to New York. The architect trained Simons surpassed all expectations with the debut of his Fall 2017 menswear collection sending out a playful homage to his beloved new hometown with a mix of knits and polished tailored evening wear that perfectly illustrates his view of the world. The iconic “I love New York” typography created by Milton Glaser in 1977 peeked out from under coats, between lapels and open knit sweaters with an oversized cream sweater that read “I love you” and “New York” as a play on the well-known “I love NY” tourist souvenirs.
As the models made their way down the catwalk to the haunting sound of Roxy Music’s “In Every Dream Home A Heartache,” oversized sweaters hung loosely on the body, sometimes off one shoulder, with sleeves that fell way past the model’s hands. A series of polished topcoats dominated the collection in shades of ivory, camel and sleek black satin for evening. The coats were styled with knit arm warmers with varsity stripes incorporated in red, orange, white, green, and black. The “arm warmers” were a shout out to his recently announced partnership with The Woolmark Company, which will produce the Merino wool seen throughout Simons’ collection. The waist was cinched in many of the looks with industrial duct tape emblazoned with statements like “Walk With Me” and “Youth Project.” It was a clever styling trick that added a bit of edge and allowed the silhouettes to vary. The winners hands-down were the outerwear pieces, and the many hard-to-define vests that draped across the models’ bodies which were bold and exciting and slightly feminised with jewellery that resembled punk rock pearl necklaces. Raf Simons comes from the worlds of architecture and art, and the diversity he brings to the table cannot be underestimated. With his latest, Raf Simons heralded the arrival of a new chapter for his brand and for the city of New York. We should all be so fearless.