Raf Simons

Raf Simons (1968). Belgian fashion designer who launched his personal fashion line in 2005. Then, later became creative director of Jil Sander, Dior, then Calvin Klein.

Index

  1. The Origin
  2. Exhibitions
  3. The Legacy
  4. Bomber Jacket
  5. Summer 2016: Creative Director of Calvin Klein
  6. CFDA 2017 Designer of the Year

The Origin

Raf Simons (1968). Belgian fashion designer who grew up on the Belgian-Dutch border and studied industrial design in Genk. He started as a furniture designer in 1991 for the design studio of Walter Van Beirendonck in Antwerp.

From here, Walter taught him the basics of the trade, and meet Linda Loppa, director of the Royal Académie des Arts, which changed his life. With Linda’s father, who is a well-known dressmaker in Belgium, he produced his first signed collection. Later, in 1995 he launched his brand and started to create history.

Exhibitions

In January 2003, with Francesco Bonami, Simons curated the exhibition Il Quarto Sesso (The Fourth Sex) about the excesses of adolescence. It was presented as part of the Pitti Immagine Discovery programme.

Then, in June 2005, Simons celebrated ten years in business with a runway event, the video installation Repeat and the monograph Raf Simons Redux at the 68th Pitti Immagine Uomo in Florence.

The Legacy

In 2005 The designer presents his new second line, Raf by Raf Simons. With this collection, the designer returns to the distinctive traits of his style in a new and modern key. A sort of basic at lower prices than his first line.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Raf Simons Last Jil Sanders Show
Last Jil Sanders Show

Later, in July, Simons was appointed creative director of Jil Sander and planned to make his debut in January 2006 with his first menswear collection. He took over from Jil Sander after the falling out between the designer and the Prada Group, who owns the company. 2012 was the end of his reign at Jil Sander, and he presented his last collection that left the audience crying and himself very emotional. Then, he pressed on and officially became the creative director of Dior.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Raf Simons Emotional at Last Jil Sanders Show
Emotional at Last Jil Sanders Show

Also a special moment, is the debut of his first Dior collection. He mesmerized the audience with an air of beauty that only the combination of Raf Simons and Dior could bring along. In the beautiful film, Dior and I, there is beautiful moment when he cries on the terrace with his right hand, Pieter Mulier, as he realizes that he is about to showcase his first Dior haute couture show. The whole film is a feast of love, dedication, humility, and respect for the petites mains of the house.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Raf Simons First Dior Haute Couture ShowFirst Dior Haute Couture Show

Raf Simons legacy, especially for his men’s label, along with Jil Sanders and Christian Dior, is nothing but magical. While each brand had a very distinct identity, values, and personality, Simons was metamorphosing from a rebellious youthfulness, to sharp minimalism, and finally romantic perfectionism at Dior.

Summer 2016: Creative Director of Calvin Klein

In summer 2016 it was officially announced that Raf Simons left Dior and became the new creative director of American fashion brand, Calvin Klein. He explains why he left Dior for Calvin Klein,

“To be really honest, the attraction and the reason why I came to Calvin is because it has the highest and the lowest and everything in between, so you can reach out to everybody. Which, in high fashion, is not always easy. It was not something that was possible at Dior, for example. It is possible at Calvin Klein.”

Mame Fashion Dictionary Raf Simons First Calvin Klein CollectionFirst Calvin Klein Collection

CFDA 2017 Designer of the Year

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Raf Simons CFDA Award
Designer of the Year at CFDA Fashion Awards

In June of 2017 Raf Simons became the second designer in the history of American fashion to win Designer of the year at the CFDA awards for both the men’s and womenswear categories.

Simons is only second to Calvin Klein, the designer and fashion house that Simons reins as the chief creative officer, who had the same double honor in 1993. The two men won the award at almost the same age; Klein at 51 and Simons at 49 years old.

Simons big win is quite the welcome from the American Fashion Elite. The award comes at a time where his first Calvin Klein collection, due the fall of 2017, is the most anticipated collection of all fashion houses. The fashion world is anxious to see Simons vision for Calvin Klein.

Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta is one of the leading brands in luxury leather goods manufacturing. Read the history of the brand which created the “Intrecciato” technique

Bottega Veneta is one of the leading brands in luxury leather goods manufacturing

Bottega Veneta is the first issue in English that we will continue to publish with the support of Domus Academy. We will continue with more brands and languages, like Chinese.

Dizionario della Moda Mame: Bottega Veneta.
The detail of the “Intrecciato” Technique.

Index

  1. The origins
  2. The first opening in New York
  3. Brand Re-launch
  4. New President and CEO
  5. Current situation

The origins

The Italian luxury goods manufacturer of bags was established in 1967 in Vicenza, Veneto by Michele Taddei and his wife Laura Braggion.

After divorcing Michele, and marrying Vittorio Moltedo, Laura remained the sole owner. The first workshop began in a restored villa in Montebello Vicentino, home to some of the greatest artisans and craftspeople.

The bags, in soft leather and even today all handmade, are typical of the company’s production and have always been highly fashionable. They are known for their noble, elegant and emphasized detail of their leather goods.

They developed a distinctive weaving technique, by taking the intrecciato technique, typically only applied to clothes, and were the first to apply it to leather. After this, their leather goods were considered a delicacy. This was revolutionary, and till this day, is the most recognizable element in the brand DNA.

They are considered a lead representative of Italian quality and elegance with technique passed down through generations.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Bottega Veneta. Clutches.
Clutches.

The first opening in New York

Later, the firm opened a single-brand shop in New York in 1971. It was the first of the Italians to be on Madison Avenue. Clients Jackie Onassis and Mary Tyler Moore helped launch the new brand store.

Twelve more single-brand shops would later open in America, plus boutiques in Paris, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Milan, Rome, Venice, and Florence, along with 35 shops in Japan. In 1998 there was a prêt-à-porter Collection inspired by American sportswear which made its début at Milano Collezioni in October of the following year.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Bottega Veneta. The store on Madison Avenue, New York.
The inside of the Madison Avenue’s store in New York.

Brand Re-launch

In 2001 the company joined the Gucci Group, which a few months later, was acquired by PPR, now known as Kering. They reorganized their management structure and appointed a new creative director, Thomas Maier.

He decided to focus on the artisanal production by using the brands iconic technique of weaving “Intrecciato”. Moreover, he chose to remove the logo from the products. He kept the original brand DNA, but added minimalism and expanded the product range into fine jewelries, sunglasses, and home collections.

Since then, they have turned into a brand that emphasizes the lifestyle. The company had record revenues in 2002, especially in the fourth quarter, when it had a 90.5% increase in comparison to a diminished turnover for the other brands controlled by the Kering Group. In 2003 there was the Début of the unisex sunglasses produced for Bottega Veneta by Sàfilo.

In February 2005, Bottega Veneta presented its first women’s ready-to-wear runway show, and in June 2006, its first men’s runway show.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Bottega Veneta. Bangles.
Bangles.

In April 2006, Bottega Veneta launched its first jewelry line, and started doing interior and furniture design. Later in 2006, the Luxury Institute of New York recognized Bottega Veneta as the most prestigious design house for the richest women of the United States.

In order to maintain their handmade tradition, they collaborated with once Artisa school, Scuola d’Arte Mestieri di Vicenza, and started a new school Scuola della Pelletteria, to educate the new generation of artisans.

New President and CEO

In 2009 Marco Bizzarri becomes the new president and CEO. He made a huge contribution to the economics and strengthened the performance of the company.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Bottega Veneta. Marco Bizzarri.
Marco Bizzarri.

2 years later, in 2011, turnover reached 6.8 million euros, with a 33.7% increase in one year. Also, profits reached 2 million euro, a 57.1% increase, compared to 2010.

“I am so proud of these numbers. In this way we are able to achieve an incensement of economic growth, but at the same time we kept the quality of our product and manufacturing technique.” – Marco Bizzarri

Then in 2016 the value of the brand officially reached one billion euros.

Current situation

Currently, Bottega Veneta is celebrating their 50th birthday and Maiers 15th anniversary at the house. So, they launched a limited edition collection of handmade bags that represent their heritage in a contemporary way.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Bottega Veneta. 50th anniversary.
Lauren Hutton and Gigi Hadid at the Bottega Veneta’s 50th anniversary party

The brand is performing and their situation is strong. They have 255 directly operated stores, €1.173 millions in revenue, with 40% of their profit coming from Asia Pacific, and seen in thousands of multi-brand stores.

Today, the brand stands for low profile elegance. There are no shiny accessories, or visible logo. Their workshop remains in the original restored villa in Montebello Vicentino.