This was one of those moments. A fashion moment. And not just because it was Raf Simons’ very first collection for Calvin Klein as Chief Creative Officer, but also because this, the brand’s AW17 collection, signalled new era for American fashion. It was, unashamedly, about the country in which Calvin Klein was birthed – all the way from the showspace, filled with artwork from US-artist Sterling Ruby, who Raf had challenged to create a vision of America, which will be unveiled in three parts. The first, the space, was decorated with American flags, cut-up and hanging like tassels alongside swathes of acid-washed denim. As the press release read, simply, “Sterling Ruby imaged America.” And so too did Raf through the collection itself – this was an ode, or homage, to the American uniform past, present and future – from the Wild West to Wall Street bankers, and all that came in between. It began with uniform-style shapes, cut-sharp and lean, in coloured denim, moving towards a sort of collage of American references – sheer panelled-tops came with American football-style woollen sleeves, there was a smattering of prairie-style florals and chunky leather biker jackets were worn with cowboy boots. Some double-denim. A smattering too of power-lady houndstooth tailoring, worn with nothing beneath, big, boxy overcoats. And there was glamour here too – dresses the revealed the slightest underside of the model’s chests (we’ll refrain, here, from using the word underboob) and Art Deco-tinged perspex shifts with sprays of coloured feathers beneath. Which we were, naturally, obsessed with. We love a wipe down fabric. You know that by now “It reflects the environment,” said Raf. “All of these different styles and dress codes. It’s the future, the past. It is the unique beauty and emotion of America.” A romp through the US of A with Raf at the helm? Well, we’re just waiting for the sequel.
by Jack Moss