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Raf Simons: Mountaineering Mode

Godfrey Deeny
July 01st, 2007 @ 11:25 AM - Paris

A pedant and a piss-taker could find much to mock in the latest Raf Simons men's collection with lots of young boys wearing double layered shorts, patent-leather patchwork sandals and mountaineer parkas in technical fibers – all in the same outfit.

It would be easy for a tabloid editor to poke fun at battered, washed out dusters or humungous, multi-strap backpacks, but to do so would be to miss the whole point of Simons, a consistent iconoclast – if that is not a contradiction in terms – whose collections and ideas stretch the limits of the predictable frontiers in fashion.

In an ecologically minded moment, with lots of talk of organic cottons and recycled materials, Simons' approach was more direct. Getting a little bit closer to nature with the sort of clothes and fabrics worn on mountains, snow pistes and back-packers Alpine paths.

So in between the willful runway eccentricity, there was a selection of clothes – gathered torso-hugging parkas, retro downhill racer goggles, faux neoprene clubbing tops and Everest ready technical fabric pants – that were thought-provoking and, more relevantly, directional. We also know these ideas will bleed into high-street stores and global fashion chains worldwide in another reminder of Raf's major influence in how guys dress today.

At Simons' day job in Milan as creative director of Jil Sander, he's gone for an extreme minimalist mixing in a few of his signature touches – such as multi-pleat pants and metallic finishes – so it also seemed smart that he took his signature line into more avant garde and absurdist waters.

Some people might mock, but if you cannot take that you should not be in fashion.

Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur.

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