Raf Simons looks toward an uncertain future with his most recent campaign.

By Balthazar Malevolent


The menswear icon's Fall/Winter 2020 campaign combines the stunning and the sinister. The set of images, shot by Simons' frequent collaborator, Willy Vanderperre, is an aesthetically delicious slice of psychedelic sci-fi. Lone figures remain in endless wild grass fields, as the skies of violet and fuschia extend above them. The colorwork is mind-blowing, and the designs of Simons – mostly well-cut black with the occasional, interesting (faux) fur appearance – provide an exquisite contrast.

Those solitary young men feel like interplanetary explorers, an envoy sent to find a new home from a dying earth. The reappearance of a faux-fur hand muff printed with the expression "Solar Youth" seems to reinforce this relation and to give a sense of urgency to the tendency of Simons to cryptic sloganing. They may be looking for a new light, or an unpolluted atmosphere but their mission does not seem hopeful: they are not at home, while they are in a beautiful environment. That planet is lifeless and barren. Their emotional state is remote and abstract; they look alone. The campaign has a prophetic meaning to it. We are killing the earth with style, and nowhere is left to go.

Less than a week ago, Simons revealed his Archive Redux, a special set consisting of 100 pieces reissued from his collections over the last 25 years. The project has shown pride in the past, an artist trusting in his own development. The initiative will put that faith into tension with an uncertain future. As an artist, the future can only be positive: this campaign's sheer artistry shows Simons at the height of his creative abilities, with no signs of slowing down. Yet it's hard to look into the future as a human being, and not be afraid. We are all well aware of this moment's precariousness on Earth, though it would be difficult to behave like this. The advertisement reflects this ambiguity perfectly, the simultaneous excitement of the present moment and the awareness of the imminent disaster. Raf Simons encourages us to always come back to our shared humanity when we move into this alien world – that's what is really beautiful.

Raf Simons Creative Director | Raf Simons

Photographer | Willy Vanderperre

Models | Luca Lemaire, David Musefano, & Lennert De Lathauwer

Stylist | Olivier Rizzo

Hair | Louis Ghewy

Makeup | Peter Philips

Manicurist | Eva de Keersmaeker

Casting Director | Ashley Brokaw

Production | Mindbox

Post-Production | Stéphane Virlogeux

In other news, Yohji Yamamoto's first digital collection has been shown last Friday within men's Paris Fashion Week.

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