The Belgian Raf Simons reimagined ideas from the Fifties into hyper-chic fashions for today. Simons muses on the allure of the midcentury period and its pitch-perfect play with form and function.
WWD: Which period in history defined modernism the best, and why? Simons: The industrialization and the Fifties’ economic boom largely affected the aesthetic of the times and pushed design to explore directions unknown until that moment. After the war, new needs were to be fulfilled, and there was extraordinary optimism for the future. The positivity was somehow the driving force for the pioneers of modernist design. During these years, designers created things that were completely new, and what I very much like about modernism is that it does not relate to history or the past.
Midcentury modern furniture remains extremely popular. Why? Midcentury furniture is the epitome of modernity: the use of color, the combination of elements, the craftsmanship, yet the appeal of industrialization. Midcentury design shows no aesthetic engagement with the past, only the precise intention to define form and function, which makes this movement relevant for any period of time.
What about fashion? Was there a fashion era or designer that defined modernism best, or is that a moving target? The language of Fifties couture was particularly interesting. There was a new approach to the use of shape, volume and color, and a redefinition of fashion by thinking forward. In architecture, there was a modernist movement. Le Corbusier, for example. In fashion, Balenciaga. In art, Picasso. It was not only the creative people but also the idea of optimism, of people thinking about the future—the fact they were attracted by being inspired by what is yet to come, and not knowing what it is going to be.
Fashion has a tendency to refer to past decades and epochs, but you always push modernity. How come? The newness of fashion is what makes it interesting. Likewise, midcentury design showed there’s no actual need to tribute the past. It’s rather a matter of moving things ahead. I always think forward, to the next collection, to what is new.
Which object or cultural artifact best exemplifies modernism, and why? Midcentury ceramics embody the essence of modernism—the oeuvres of Pol Chambost, Picasso Madoura, George Jouve, Jacques and Dani Ruelland from these times exemplify the dedication to form and color.
What makes a garment modern? I think it’s a combination of elements. Modernity is a very delicate equation of form and function. Fabric, color and material are always deeply connected, so I believe it’s their combination that sets the modern tone of the garment.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)