The first time I heard of the designer Raf Simons was from an article in Harper's Bazaar featuring a crop of 'new-wave' Belgian designers like Olivier Theyskens, Veronique Branquinho, etc. It was fascinating for me at that time to have a designer focusing on menswear and getting that kind of press. This was pre-Dior Homme days and I think Hedi Slimane (who was rumored to have copied his penchance for waif thin male models) was still designing for Yves Saint Laurent Monsiuer. Yes, Walter Van Beirendonck did menswear but it was more like crazy, eccentric menswear. Raf was more refined, with works based on traditional menswear codes but subverted into something exciting by inventive tailoring. My first Raf Simons came from the ukay and it was a pants with repositioned dartings and seaming that meets on the knee, circa s/s 2003. I don't remember whatever happened to those pants. My designer friend Ignacio Loyola lent me his copy of Belgian Fashion Design book and it fueled the more my interest on him plus Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, etc. I was never a lover of flamboyant fashion. I love McQueen but only for his theatricality in presenting his concepts and realizing his vision. But I don't get inspired by his designs. Same with John Galliano; I have his book by Colin McDowell given by Dora for my birthday and I got attracted to his process of creation more than his actual clothes. But Raf's clothes inspire me. And later on my research I was shocked to learn he was inspired by Helmut Lang, too. I love that connection there and part of me still wishes he should have revived Helmut Lang and not Jil Sander, lol! Check out this link which exhaustively documents Raf Simon's design timeline, here.
I was quite lucky then to find 2 pieces, a RAF and a Raf Simons piece from my thrifting in Iloilo:
Lovely prepster polo shirt from the RAF by Raf Simons line.
This white shirt in cotton and elastic blend fabric was from the s/s 2008 collection based on a humorous take on German backpackers. That was the season where we saw his 'Lego' 'De Stijl' hiking boots.
These two pieces will be a great addition to my designer archives.
I've asked a friend to buy me his Raf Simons Redux book and I can't wait to read and understand his universe when I get it in my dye stained hands. You can purchase one here.