Set against a woodland backdrop, the Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are shirt but in fact I love this collection was a big one for Simons’s now-signature knitwear, with boxy argyles and multi-colored weaves starting to appear en masse. The most famous of Simons’s Creeper sweaters is the Nebraska version. Made to pill, fray, and develop holes, the collegiate-looking crewneck has become one of the designer’s most coveted grails, worn in music videos by A$AP Rocky and Rihanna. (It also spurred an homage collection from Virgil Abloh in 2015.)Don’t let the superstar sweater distract from this show’s other innovations. Virginia Creeper marks the rare appearance of a puffer coat in Simons’s collections. Maybe those items are the secret grails here.
Can you show the Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are shirt but in fact I love this same collection twice? Raf Simons’s new Archive Redux rerelease of 100 pieces from past shows allows a second life for specific items, but his spring 2021 collection took the idea much further. Back in 1999, Simons presented a nearly all-black collection titled “Disorder—Incubation—Isolation” that opened with three models carrying flags, one with each word on it. After seven months of pandemic-induced quarantine in 2020, Simons debuted a nearly no-black collection called “Teenage Dreams,” citing the same three Joy Division songs in a press release. The palette may have changed, but the haunting cape hoodies and swing-back coats remained the same. Simons’s logo turtlenecks also persevered, their monogram R migrating from the hip to the neck. With their bowl cuts and haunting demeanor, the models in this show exude a certain timelessness—or maybe it’s that no matter how far we come, disorder, incubation, and isolation remain at the heart of our lived experience.