Raf Simons’ Latest Campaign Looks like Russian Constructivism

Published January 15, 2014

Some might forget that before there was Raf Simons, Chrisian Dior creative director, Jil Sanders reinventer, sharp tailoring aficionado, there was the 20something Simons who left his career as a furniture designer to found an eponymous menswear label in 1995. Today, the line released its Spring/Summer 2014 campaign, shot in Antwerp, Belgium where the designer lives and works.

The collection incorporates a variety of retro-ish graphic prints. Garments spliced with text, shapes, leaping figures, and objects like speeding cars and soda bottles recall a Raf-ified selection of post-WWI Russian Constructivist posters. The homage to the stark art movement, purposeful or not, is executed in an aesthetically simple way. The famously minimalist designer still kept the polychromatic items isolated–most looks are completed with black men’s drop-crotch shorts.

For the campaign, stylist Olivier Rizzo overlaid the colorful frocks (yes, frocks for men) with the designer’s distinct tailored jackets. Belgian fashion photographer Willy Vanderperre shot the model Luca on a cement path bordering a grassy field. In the background, a distant railroad bridge cuts through the sky. The more graphic of the brightly patterned frocks feel almost like advertisements pasted and left for passerby to discover, walking by the area on a balmy Belgian spring day.