Lost in a trance

Raf Simons put on a rave for his London debut
By Alex James Taylor | Fashion | 14 October 2022

When’s a runway show not a runway show? When it’s a fucking rave. And that’s what Raf Simons gave us for his long-awaited London debut – delayed due to the queen’s passing.

But this was no wake, it was a thumping, laser-guided trip to 4/4 euphoria. Inside London’s vast Printworks club venue, guests (and lots of them) arrived to a Raf Simons headline slot.

Suddenly the bar (beers, Ciroc cocktails and gin, incase you wondered) became a catwalk and models stormed out as if they were rushing out of work straight to the club, their formalwear sliced, hacked and deconstructed as they make DIY alterations as they go – that’s called timesaving. Wool blazers became tank tops, trousers were cut into garments whose only duty is to protect your dignity, and shirts blew open in the rush.

Austere tunics belted around the upper thigh were kinky in the same way as Steven Shainberg’s Secretary, cardigans with two-finger salute elbow patches were very Geography teacher gone rouge, and neon tights nodded as much towards Sarah Lucas as the club scene. “KILL THEM ALL AND DANCE” read one raw hem vest, scribbled in red ink – a collaboration with the estate of the late Belgian painter Philippe Vandenberg translating by his visceral, abstract text works, some penned in his own blood. Not an instruction for violence, the meaning refers to ridding yourself of past work and letting yourself dance to a new beat, of freedom and desire.

An ode to the kind of escapism only found amongst sweaty bodies, frenzied lighting and music so loud you can’t think of anything but. This was about cutting loose and letting go, becoming lost in a trance.

GALLERYCatwalk images from Raf Simons SPRING-SUMMER-2023