- The Origin
- The Legacy
- Bomber Jacket
- Summer 2016: Creative Director of Calvin Klein
- CFDA 2017 Designer of the Year
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
First 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.
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.”
First Calvin Klein Collection
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.