Mr Raf Simons is a very busy man. Just over a year ago – and nearly two decades since he launched his eponymous menswear line in Antwerp – Mr Simons was appointed creative director at Christian Dior. Along with Mr Karl Lagerfeld’s role at Chanel, and Mr Marc Jacobs’ at Louis Vuitton, this is one of fashion’s premiere jobs, which demands overseeing one of the world’s most storied luxury brands and designing upwards of six collections each year. On top of this, Mr Simons, the son of an army night watchman and a cleaning lady from Neerpelt, Belgium, continues to excel with his namesake label, which pushes the boundaries of menswear by combining elements from art and youth culture with high fashion. So needless to say, it’s no mean feat that Mr Simons found time to design a capsule collection available exclusively on MR PORTER.
The 13-piece collection, which includes shirts, sweatshirts, T-shirts, shorts, a bomber jacket and high-top sneakers, features a bright floral print which speaks of “grunge, nature and softness” according to the designer. “Raf’s use of colour and Kurt Cobain-inspired floral combined to make his SS13 show one of our favourites,” says Mr Terry Betts, MR PORTER’s Buying Manager, “this exclusive project started from new, uniquely-painted watercolours which were transformed into fabric and then used to create the range for MR PORTER. We are very excited to be collaborating with one of the most creative designers currently working in the industry.”
Although Dior is a global company with thousands of employees, Mr Simons’ own line is run by fewer than 10 people, himself included, and is often characterised as being more like a family than a firm. “Each season I start the design process by talking intensively with my team,” he says. “It’s about dialogue for me, so I always start by talking. I think the primary meaning for me doing fashion is to have a dialogue, although another important reason is to cause a dialogue – both are essential to evolution and to the future.” From his youth spent listening to records by Kraftwerk and Joy Division in the nondescript town where he grew up, to his work at Jil Sander, Christian Dior and with his own brand, Mr Simons has always looked forwards. “I’m a romantic about the future,” he says.
- Photography by Mr Thomas Brown
- Styling by Ms Sophie Hardcastle, Fashion Coordinator, MR PORTER
- Words by Mr Peter Henderson, Senior Fashion Writer, MR PORTER