LONDON — Fashion magazine i-D is celebrating the legacy of Raf Simons with a dedicated Rafzine for the spring 2023 “timeless” issue.
The 36-page zine will include i-D’s editorial images that feature Simons’ work over the past two decades. The Belgian designer’s close collaborators — photographer Willy Vanderperre and stylist Olivier Rizzo — also created a story with pieces from their personal archive of Simons’ clothing, including prototypes, show pieces, and garments that never entered production, circa 1995 to 2000.
Alastair McKimm, global editor-in-chief at i-D, said on a personal level, Simons influenced him more than any designer when he started.
“From where I came from, and what our style was, and what kind of culture we were into when I saw what he was doing in the late ’90s, it really impacted me and made me think that I could have a place in fashion,” recalled McKimm.
Also, the designer’s history with i-D spans his whole career. Simons guest edited the magazine’s February 2001 issue, which now has become one of the most collectible editions on the market, and i-D hosted the after party for his last London show.
“We didn’t even know at that point that he was going to be closing his company. We were just really excited to cohost with him. The collection was obviously incredible. So we had already planned to do like a big cover story for spring. Once we got the news from Simons that he was going to be closing the brand, we decided that we should do something even more special,” said McKimm.
The main issue will also feature two first-time-ever trio conversations between Simons and two of his former apprentices, Matthieu Blazy and Pieter Mulier, now creative head at Bottega Veneta and Alaia, respectively, as well as a chat between Simons, Vanderperre, and Rizzo.
Their chats will be accompanied by images shot behind the scenes at the designer’s final show in London by Nick Waplington, and a follow-up editorial, shot in New York by Mario Sorrenti.
“This is the first time that the three of them [Simons, Blazy, and Mulier] have ever sat down and had a conversation about their history together. It’s a great behind-the-scenes look at their journeys together and then separately. It just seems to be a really exciting time to document that because now they’re all heads of these big houses and obviously we’re very excited about what Simons is doing at Prada,” McKimm added.
As an early Raf Simons fan, McKimm said he lost count of how many Simons pieces he has collected over the years.
“I’ve sort of been buying bits and pieces for decades. Some of them I wear, and some of them I don’t. I have one of his bomber jackets that I wear all the time. I’ve got some of the Robert Mapplethorpe pieces that I have never worn. I just literally bought them as collectibles,” McKimm said.
“He has always been seen as the ultimate cool because it was so underground, and so connected to real street culture. He was put on a pedestal from the beginning. The ‘Black Palms’ collection, in my opinion, is the best fashion show ever created.
“His ‘Isolated Heroes’ book with David Sims was a really important moment in fashion as well. We ran those pictures on i-D back in the day and then I reran those for our 40th-anniversary issue in 2020,” he added.
The spring issue also shines a light on British rapper Headie One. In the issue, he exchanged ideas with fellow Tottenham-born musician Skepta on the changing world of rap music in the U.K. Other highlights include a story on Lily-Rose Depp shot by Karim Sadli, ahead of her leading role in “The Idol,” and a focus on the riotous London spirit of Chopova Lowena.