• Text Lewis Firth
  • Photography Raffaele Cariou
  • 23rd January 2015

Infinite Language

“Silence is to be observed at all times in the hallways and central stairwells,” a statement scribbled on a white lab coat at Raf Simons’ FW15 show. No stairwells or hallways there – just a gutted industrial warehouse situated 30 minutes from central Paris.

The invite was similarly enigmatic: “TO THE ARCHIVES, NO LONGER RELEVANT.” A message to atavistic design, perhaps? Was it a rejection to the historical, family stimuli that inspired his Spring 2015 collection? All questions that aid to build the atmosphere of this creative cult.

The show was formulated with scrupulousness, as expected. The audience were made to stand, huddling around two raised catwalks with photographers situated in the centre like kids eagerly waiting for their favourite band to arrive. (Quite apt, with models walking to Child in Time by Deep Purple.) Lighting and sound equipment were supported by scaffolding towers with their cables left exposed. Eerie, strange and atypical: Simons’ paradigm. After all, conventionality isn’t something the brand subscribes to – it’s been pivotal to its success.

The anomalousness continued: long, woollen and denim coats – with frayed, unfinished hems – anchored the collection. Some were stripped of their sleeves and collars, allowing scooped necklines to frame the strikingly coloured, raw-edged pullovers.

Coats proceeded to be a critical piece, with some in red and black patent leather, and, most principally, the felt-tip scribbled, white lab coat that exhibited statements of oppression. No silence here: the garments really did speak for themselves.