By Eromosele Patrick Eidusi
Was it fake snow? Drifts of something white filled the New York Stock Exchange, the site of Raf Simons’ third collection for Calvin Klein. Get a little closer and you could smell it: buttery, salty….popcorn? Yes, popcorn.
It filled the runway and sloped up the sides of 19th century barns erected throughout the space, a show-setting fit for the silver screen. Kernels wedged their way into the toes of celebrities wearing strappy sandals, and popcorn powder hung in the air. Cue the jokes about popcorn lung.
Jokes aside, the setting was full of context clues for Simons’ fall collection for Calvin Klein, an evolution of his exploration of Americana. The 19th century barns made sense as airy prairie dresses floated down the runway.
Ditto the quilted looks and the barn blankets slung over the arm.
Silver foil jackets and hoods recalled Jiffy pop (for anyone old enough to remember it) and seemed to evoke the Space Race of the ‘60s.)
Another nod to the ‘60s if you looked closely – the walls of the barns were plastered in Warhol prints.
And perhaps as a commentary on a country in crisis (one that has ended multiple, horrific natural disasters), firefighter coats, boots and gloves provided inspiration throughout. There were lots nods to the past but the collection was forwarded looking. Knit balaclavas, Zipped-up printed hoods, and masterful proportions lent everything a thoroughly now feeling.
Once again, Simons knocked it out of the park. This was real capital F fashion: artful, directional, thought – provoking. As an outsider, the Belgian-born Raf Simons is in a unique position to interpretan iconic American bran like Calvin Klein. He said of this collection: “it is an evolution of my idea of CALVIN KLEIN – of a view onto American society – but now wider, universal. It’s an allegory for a meeting of old worlds and new worlds, relating to the discovery of American, the 1960s Space Race, and the twenty-first century information age. Reflecting the notion of democracy, there is no cultural hierarchy: the mixes emancipate clothing and reference from their meanings, from their own narratives, and collage them to discover something different – a different dream. More than anything else, this collection is about freedom. A word that defined America, the CALVIN KLEIN.” We could certainly use the reminder.
See the collection in the slides above
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