Menswear Details at Raf Simons

Raf Simons, Menswear, AW11, Paris.

A wonderful teacher once told me that menswear was a careful balancing act between different elements such as colour, silhouette, prints and materials. Unlike womenswear where there are designers who can push the dial up to 11 on all the of these elements at once, menswear requires more restraint. If you’re opting for unusual fabrics, maybe the silhouettes should remain more classic. If you intend to use bright colours then maybe they will be more wearable in safe tweeds or luxurious cotton shirting.

Raf Simons as a designer is a perfect case study for the use of discipline in both his mens and womenswear collections. Here in his menswear collection for Autumn-Winter 2011, there are small grabs of colours mixed in with wearable neutrals and unusual fabrics in classic cuts. When Raf Simons does a sweatshirt shape, it becomes an opportunity to streamline the neckline and move the seamlines away from their usual positions, to provide the shaping that would otherwise need a knit fabric. When he does toggle closures it becomes an opportunity to inject small amounts of contrast colours. Even the shoes have been given a twist by using double lines of metal hardware to hold the laces.

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