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  • Raf Simons a/w 2014 menswear collection

  • Sterling Ruby Soft Work, installation view, FRAC Champagne-Ardenne. Foto: Martin Argyroglo.

  • Raf Simons and Sterling Ruby

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Raf Simons collaborates with artist Sterling Ruby for his a/w 2014 menswear collection

Raf Simons recently presented his a/w 2014 menswear collection in Paris, a long awaited collaboration with artist Sterling Ruby. Although this is not the first time that the two creative minds join forces in a project, since Simons was inspired by Ruby’s artworks for his first couture show for Dior and they had also designed together the interior of his flagship store in Tokyo, this time it was completely different since every single piece of Simons’ latest menswear show was a result of a long, mutual process. The non conforming attitude and punk sensibility of Raf Simons, a designer that has always tried to maintain his independence at all costs, were beautifully mingled with the rebellious universe of Sterling Ruby, an artist that never hesitated to criticize consumerism and the decadence of contemporary societies. Although Raf Simons insisted that they had made “a men’s fashion collection, not an artwork,” the runway was conceived as an art installation, with Ruby’s soft sculptures taking over the place. The clothes, far from being the typical designer creates art inspired prints thing, were approached as if they were canvases and literally incorporated Ruby’s previous works, with echoes to his cardboard and fabric collages as well as his American flag vampire mouth of his recent EXHM exhibition in Los Angeles. There were also digital prints looking like stickers as well as DIY culture and music references, with patches reminiscing of the classic band outfits of the 90’s.

“We didn’t even have to think it over much,” Simons commented on the duo’s creative process to The Cut. “The reason why we became such close friends [is] because there were so many mutual ideas, we already had such a shared vision, aesthetically and conceptually…This idea was to bring the two worlds together and to really think about how we think a man should dress.” The collection also featured outfits adorned with space-inspired images as well as some total bleach-splatted looks that paid homage to the clothes that Sterling Ruby normally wears in his studio. “I have been thinking about my studio as a kind of Bauhaus. In the last couple of years, I have been producing my own work clothes to wear at the studio, work shirts, pants, and jumpsuits. They are made from bleached denim and canvas, materials that I also use to make some of my artworks. In my work I have been thinking about the moment the utilitarian object becomes an aesthetic object.” revealed recently the artist to style.com. “Fashion has a long interest in collaborative situations,” underlined Raf Simons, “but what interests me now is to say that this is not just a collaborative thing, not just asking someone in my field to do the knitwear or the bags. This is all the way, all the way. There is not one shirt, one shoe, one sock that is not from our mutual thinking process.”