Raf Simons made a name for himself during his seven-year tenure at Jil Sander, introducing a new, seductive tone into the brand, which fit perfectly with the established ultramodern, menswear-inspired look. Born in Limburg, Belgium, Simons initially worked in furniture design, a field that has complemented his fashion career extremely well—considering his mastery of principles of visual aesthetics and modern design. Simons was named John Galliano’s successor as artistic director at Dior in April 2012, and all the while he has created menswear collections under his eponymous brand, which led him to be called, “Probably the most influential menswear designer of the last decade” by the New York Times. Simons’s experience in the art world is extensive; a collector and former art advisor, he created a notable collection with Peter Saville in 2003, and recently put on a fantastic surrealist show for Dior.
Simons caught our attention last month with his perfectly orchestrated—or rather, perfectly patch-worked and bleached—collaboration with Sterling Ruby, who also has a New York Times claim-to-fame, as in 2008 Roberta Smith called him “one of the most interesting artists to emerge in this century.” Ruby is highly regarded for his multidisciplinary approach to provocative assemblages and installations that comment on human nature, desire, and social norms.
The collaboration comes nine years after the two first met and is mutual homage, combining what each does best. Simons said about working with Ruby, “We both work in different genres, but we work with some heavy industries to a certain degree. This is a way for us to keep our autonomy. We’re on the trajectory to create our own Bauhaus,” he laughed. The fabulous collection, which seems to have walked directly out of Ruby’s artworks, but with Simons’s keen style and attention to detail, was noted as a nostalgic revival of teenage punk tendencies; Ruby told Dazed Digital, “we both sewed patches on our coats when we were quite young, why not do it again?”
Images Courtesy of Raf Simons.
Idee di Pietra in Gstaad, Switzerland