Raf Simons RTW Spring 2023

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The Raf Simons fashion/rave party experience finally arrived in London on Thursday night. The designer postponed his show last month due to national mourning for Queen Elizabeth II and held his Spring 2023 show instead during Frieze, alongside brands like Alexander McQueen and Roksanda.

More than 1,000 guests gathered at Printworks, Canada Water’s cult party venue in south-east London, where Simons reminisced about a Berghain-style moment.

Guests gathered in the vast, cavernous room around long black bars and drank beer and cocktails from paper cups. Just before the start of the show, these bars were transformed into a long track. It wasn’t the first time guests at Simons’ show were forced to stand up and stare at his creations. He staged similar shows in Florence, New York, and at a warehouse in Montreuil, east of Paris.

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The designer’s obsession with mega-shoulders and big proportions seems over. Instead, there were lots of clean lines, minimal tailored jackets and skirts paired with bright leggings in primary colors. A range of rompers were made from fine knits, as light as lingerie, or lightweight cotton.

Simons’ role as co-creative director at Prada is under her skin, and it’s clear that Miuccia Prada is influencing her aesthetic.

Fans, however, would still recognize this as a Raf Simons show, albeit a more stripped down version. Models paraded on the raised bar in bright red or pale blue sleeveless coats; the classic double-breasted coats Simons makes every season; mesh t-shirts, cotton dresses and sleeveless tops adorned with graffiti, the result of a collaboration with the estate of the late Belgian painter Philippe Vandenberg.

Simons said in his liner notes that the artist’s work, while gloomy, always comes with a glimmer of hope, with phrases such as “Drink the sea and dance.” The collaboration pieces will be co-branded when they hit stores next year.

Simons’ new less is more approach, so different from his highly curated and sometimes overproduced previous shows, paid off. He is now able to play with a new group of older, more affluent clients who get to know him through his work at Prada, while remaining loyal to the loyal fans who have followed him since the early 2000s.

Launch Gallery: Behind the Scenes at Raf Simons RTW Spring 2023

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