Leaving the stage at the top of the game is a move that works for Legend. Rock stars, politicians, businessmen, fashionistas, in any field, few people have the courage to do this. It’s an early thought that echoes a recent memory of Raf Simons jumping from a runway bar into a crowd of adoring fans at London’s Warehouse rave show on October 13th.
At that moment, I took a step back and realized that I had performed my last crude utopia that night. It’s kind of an idealized culmination of all the underground teenage scenes he’s based his brand on since 1995. I have never seen him so happy and open, talking to everyone. Watch him cheer up the kids who are trying to tell him what they think.
There was no indication that this was indeed the last show for Raf Simons and the last for his own label in 27 years. If he already figured it out, it was a great way to come out on top. Leave me wanting more.
In the 1990s, the emotional outburst of the loss of such a fashion hero grew among his former inner cohort, now in their 50s and 60s, and a new global generation obsessed with iconic brands and all the social games online. In comparison, it certainly compares to the panic of buyers that followed the shock women experienced when Phoebe Philo dumped Celine.
Raf Simons’ latest collection is sure to be taken off the shelves, and the resale prices for anything bearing his name are always high and will skyrocket overnight.
Raph didn’t leave, of course. Together with Miuccia Prada, he designs womenswear and menswear and stands at the pinnacle of one of the world’s leading luxury brands. According to her, he made an endless deal (reminiscent of Karl Lagerfeld’s long-standing deal with Fendi), especially during trips between his home in Milan and Antwerp. Enough for designers who want balance in their personal lives.
But understanding his reasons for announcing his brand’s demise, whether it be work pressure, a deteriorating economic climate, or a change of heart in middle age, is difficult when it comes to Raf.
His situation is similar to that of Demna in Balenciaga. Demna ended his relationship with the Vetements brand he founded, opting to focus on his work at the fashion house. Perhaps the idea that fashionistas should be doing several things at once is completely outdated.
Some say that the first appearances of fashion gods Helmut Lang and Martin Margiela have parallels with Raf. They are an example of a designer whose work has become the most respected and popular since it has stalled. Likewise, the name of Raf Simons remains sacred.
However, there are differences. Lang and Margiela had already sold the brand before leaving the company. Raf Simons went independent. You can wrap or unfold it however you like. Die-hard fans will remember that there was a time when he put the brand on hold and then returned.
Maybe so, maybe not. Or maybe do something completely different. A completely separate project that meets your personal intellectual interests. Something that is not hindered by the ever-increasing needs of ready-to-wear, fashion shows, sales to customers, factory production, supply, sales and adaptation to the incessant cycle of repetition of the infamous season. This is one of the motivations and extreme difficulty faced by all independent designers associated with the wholesale system, it is not surprising if he decided to retire at this very moment.
But there may be more. “Relevant” has always been the touchstone of the veracity of Raf’s vocabulary. This means that it is “relevant” to new ideas generated by time and youth. There are so many ways to be “relevant” and in fashion these days, and not just in the fashion wholesale business. The younger generation of Raf’s contacts are busy inventing new systems for themselves. One such conversation was with London students, young designers and entrepreneurs. Was he inspired by the way you spoke.