Raf Simons reverted to a digital format for fall 2022, filming his men’s and women’s collection treading a low black runway past empty sofas and chairs draped in red cloth.
Here was an elegant, grown-up version of Simons’ brand of chic: high-minded, vaguely disquieting and straddling streetwear cool and minimalist modernity.
Face-obscuring hats, done in collaboration with Stephen Jones, did much to give this show its eerie, mysterious and futuristic quality, especially the helmet-like toppers with a thin eye slit reminiscent of RoboCop.
Simons opened his display with baseball caps that extended into slim capes that the models clutched closed, a nod to “Netherlandish Proverbs,” a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder from the year 1559, whose most vivid character wears a blue cloak that’s pulled over his head. Other capes in soft, fluffy fabrics were worn backward to cover the arms or had a ladylike suit or arms poking through in trompe l’oeil style.
The show was repetitive, but elaborated on strong ideas: Putting generously tailored topcoats and blazers in lush, hairy fabrics over glossy shift dresses, worn as an underpinning by men and women with tall galoshes, or pants in the same strange, high-shine material. Could it be latex? Simons isn’t saying, and provided no collection notes or sound bites.
The outerwear was sensational, from a boxy mac in a lipstick red, to sinister black slickers with capelets or funneling collars. The designer glammed up the bomber jacket, one of the few signposts of rebellion in the collection, with a couture-caliber capelet.
He also whipped up glamorous backpacks from evening satins, knotted like bows, and with thick ribbons to trail on the asphalt.