To celebrate 25 years of his eponymous label, Raf Simons is re-releasing 100 pieces from his archive
Few designers have a cult following as devoted as Belgian designer Raf Simons’, whose archive pieces are some of the most obsessively sought after – and indeed, eye-wateringly priced – on the luxury resale market. To celebrate 25 years of his eponymous label, the designer is giving a new generation of fans the opportunity to buy a piece of Raf Simons history, with the reissue of 100 pieces from his archive. Simons – who was appointed co-creative director of Prada earlier this year – describes the release as a “re-examination and recontextualising of the past, for and within the present”, with a careful selection of pieces which “have an instinctive relevance to the world of today”.
The collection borrows its name from Simons’ 2005 book Raf Simons Redux, which was released upon the brand’s tenth anniversary, tracing a decade of the designer’s cultural references, trailblazing shows and collections. Among the pieces being re-issued are designs from Simons’ debut collection, Autumn/Winter 1995; a shirt and skinny tie from the Kraftwerk-inspired Autumn/Winter 1998 Radioactivity collection; and ‘KOLLAPS’ hoodies from the Spring/Summer 2002 show, Woe Onto Those Who Spit on the Fear Generation… The Wind Will Blow It Back. The latter collection, with its doomsday slogans and masked faces, ran eerily parallel to a year of global tragedy, with 9/11 taking place just months before. Amid a time of protest and isolation, the resurfacing of the collection’s dark and rebellious pieces feels timely.
Though the majority of the Redux pieces are yet to be revealed – as the collection launches in December – the brand has teased the upcoming release with a series of images shot and styled by longtime collaborators, Willy Vanderperre and Olivier Rizzo, in which a cast of mannequins relax in a sunny meadow. Though the images only reveal a handful of the 100 pieces, Simons promises the Redux collection will reprise different moments from the brand’s history which are geared to the current moment. “The past always composes the present,” says the brand in a statement accompanying the news of the reissue collection. “This approach reflects the identity of Raf Simons, a history informing the future.” Such attention to history is responsible in part for the designer’s feverish appeal, whose clothes are continually inspired by – and imbued with the emotion of – subcultures, eras of rebellion and the romance of youth.
With youth in mind, the brand states that the Redux release is “a creative and commercial gesture, offering the new generation of Raf Simons followers a chance to experience these garments for the first time. A nostalgia for the unknown.” Speaking to AnOther’s Alexander Fury last year in an interview featured in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of AnOther Magazine, Simons said: “What gives me enormous satisfaction is that we have an incredible following from a young crowd. I don’t know if it is because I understand them or because they understand me. I have always thought – and will never change my mind – that children and kids, youth, are our future. That’s by definition the case, so that’s also why it’s important to pay attention. Whatever we think, it’s important to pay attention.”
The Raf Simons Archive Redux collection will be available from selected retailers in December 2020.