When people ask me my favourite designer label, my mind tends to go blank. Because ‘Celine’ or ‘Raf Simons’ or ‘Helmut Lang circa 1995’ is not very original and also because (shhhh,don’t tell), I hardly ever buy designer clothes these days.
Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…
1. DIOR FINALLY NAMES ITS NEW DESIGNER
An exciting week for Dior, who finally named Maria Grazia Chiuri as its incoming artistic director. I wasn’t convinced by the other suggestions but I love Chiuri’s work at Valentino and it will be interesting to see her take on modern femininity at Dior. Oh and let’s not forget possibly the real reason she’s been hired. Accessories, baby! (more…)
If you’re concerned about Joe Corre’s threat to burn his entire stash of punk memorabilia, don’t fret so. Kim Jones has a sizable chunk of the archive in his possession, being an avid collector of Sex, Seditionaries Westwood and the rest. Thus his collection for Louis Vuitton menswear SS17 was peppered with a smattering of punkish references, from kinky plastic macs, to stencil-print boilersuits, to my favourite old standby, the razzy mohair sweater. All with a veneer of grown up polish, naturally. (more…)
Generally positive reactions to Raf Simons’ ode to Robert Mapplethorpe last week in Florence. The revered 80s photographer is having a moment, after his retrospective exhibitions at LACMA and The Getty Center in Los Angeles (and the HBO documentary Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures) reminded us of the breadth of his output. As with Gosha, Raf is well versed in finding ways to demonstrate his passions while keeping to his signature house codes.
So, haphazardly oversized silhouettes continue to dominate, as do the cut-and-paste, collagy motifs familiar to any Raf fan-boy (or girl). The collaboration was initiated by the Mapplethorpe camp and eagerly embraced by Raf. As well as recognisable portraits of Debbie Harry, Patti Smith and Robert Sherman, other recurring Mapplethorpe themes included male nudes, antique statues and elegant flower photographs.
These were artfully and respectfully placed by Raf, framed in the open neckline of a slouchy sweater, on the bib of a dungaree, or arranged in triplicate down the side of a shirt. As Raf commented to the FT (registration required), “I wanted to approach it like when you do an exhibition at a museum or a gallery, but of course the medium is so different. Which was a big challenge, because otherwise you have T-shirt with prints which is what most people do but which I don’t find very respectful.”
While the naked male member glimpsed on a shirt was seen by some as deliberately provocative, it was the flower prints that grabbed my attention. They reminded me of my Raf-for-Dior flower placement sweatshirt from SS14 along with an orchid-print silk square scarf. But to anyone unfamiliar with Mapplethorpe’s work, they just represented covetable, wearable pieces.
To accompany the show, Raf produced an exhibition of his 20-year-old archive, which helped to reinforce his recurrent themes. The oversized white shirts and layered, cropped knits, the peekaboo photo placements, they’re all Raf signatures that we know and love. Yet how perfectly they translate as canvases for Mapplethorpe’s work…
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Vogue Runway; Yu Fujiwara for W magazine
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