Raf Simons Fall Winter 2022-2023 London Fashion Week. Review by Eleonora de Gray, Editor-in-Chief of RUNWAY MAGAZINE.
Raf Simons presented collection for the next Fall “The Blue Cloak 1559”. The story of the Raf Simons related to the The Blue Cloak, or De Blauwe Huik, which refers to an old concept for a popular XVIth-century print “Netherlandish Proverbs“.
Raf Simons took the theme from Pieter Bruegel the Elder painting, illustrating the story. Running themes in Bruegel’s paintings that appear in Netherlandish Proverbs are the absurdity, wickedness and foolishness of humans. Its original title. The Blue Cloak or The Folly of the World, indicates that Bruegel’s intent was not just to illustrate proverbs, but rather to catalog human folly. Many of the people depicted show the characteristic blank features that Bruegel used to portray fools. (“Pieter Bruegel”. APARENCES. Retrieved 11 August 2013).
Each and every character in Pieter Bruegel painting is symbolizing human’s follies, like in the collection of Raf Simons. He choose one character from “Netherlandish Proverbs“.
The chosen character by Raf Simons is a woman who is pulling a blue cloak over her husband. She is literally pulling the wool over his eyes. This act is a metaphor for adultery, explicitly the adultery of the woman, and the cloak a deceitful “coverup” that helps her husband to “not see it”, which is also indicated by another proverb or expression in the Galle engraving showing a man with his fingers in front of his eyes with the remark “Dese siet door de vingeren” (English: This one acts blind but is ‘peeking through his fingers’). To be “wrapped in a blue cloak” means “to be deceived”.
I guess Raf Simons took this symbol to a global level. People don’t want to see what they do, and how globally they destroy the planet and life, and by these actions deceive the life itself, creative meaning of life. Raf Simons told the story about blinded humans, living in their own world of the “concept” without seeing the consequences of their actions.
This “peeking through his fingers” symbol Raf Simons transformed in the forms of the colorful hats, which looks a little bit like the helmet from Star Wars. The total looks also give an echo to the armors from Star Wars – glossy, vinyl black long coats and oversize jackets he showed today on runway.
One of the most powerful looks of this collection is woman in red “bleeding” dress symbolizing Mary, Holly Mother of God. This is Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is the symbol of Her motherly and compassionate love for all mankind. The Immaculate heart is depicted pierced with seven wounds or swords, in homage to the seven sorrows of Mary. This symbol of Mary, Our Lady who softens evil hearts, or Our Lady of Compassion, is the centerpiece of the Raf Simoens Fall Winter 2022-2023 collection, symbolizing her compassion to blinded humans.
This collection is a very strong statement, live painting of XXIst century of Raf Simoens.