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Raf Simons

In just two decades, the Belgian designer Raf Simons has headed four of the world’s most pres­ti­gious fashion houses, trans­formed the silhou­ette of men’s fashion, and reimag­ined the way street style and fine art can influ­ence design. Rest­less and yet fully-actu­al­ized in his aesthetic from the start, Simons contin­u­ally manages to surprise while reassert­ing his sharp, fearless vision.

Simons studied indus­trial and furni­ture design in Genk, but an intern­ship at Walter Van Beiren­donck set the stage for his life in fashion. In 1995, he founded his own menswear label, special­iz­ing in razor-thin suiting. By the turn of the century, men around the world had tight­ened up their apparel. Two months before 9/11, Simons showed a contro­ver­sial collec­tion acces­sorized by face-cover­ings and lit flares. Four years later, he intro­duced sex appeal to mini­mal­ism as head of men’s and womenswear for Jil Sander. In 2012, Dior came calling; in response, he provided edgy takes on smoking suits and pastel couture as creative direc­tor. Simons shocked the indus­try by resign­ing in 2016, launch­ing a collec­tion under his own name that applied Robert Mapplethorpe’s homo­erotic photog­ra­phy to streetwear, then joining Amer­i­cana icon Calvin Klein as chief creative officer. His kitsch collab­o­ra­tions with Ster­ling Ruby and taxicab-yellow makeover of John Pawson’s mini­mal­ist temple of a Madison Avenue flag­ship attracted major atten­tion, but after two years Simons moved on again.

In 2014, Simons initi­ated an ongoing collab­o­ra­tion with Kvadrat, utiliz­ing the Danish master’s inno­v­a­tive textiles in a Calvin Klein collec­tion. The apparel was such a success that the pair decided to bring the fabrics home, for a series of textile collec­tions marry­ing Simon’s severe wit and Kvadrat’s peer­less fabri­ca­tions. Mean­while, the catwalk came calling again: in April 2020, Simons joined Prada in the role of co-creative director.


Designs by Raf Simons (18)