At Pitti Uomo this weekend in Florence, Raf Simons was one of the many menswear influencers to present a runway collection for SS17. But unlike most, Simons chose to pay homage to legendary American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and his distinct and risqué style. With Mapplethorpe’s S&M and fetish-inspired works printed onto his garments, Simons gave a true nod to the artist throughout the presentation of the collection. On the night of, Simons arranged to have a one-night only exhibition of Mapplethorpe’s entire archive, to accompany his runway collection. The show itself was also meant to be an artistic exhibition, as Simons aimed to make it a more interactive experience than the traditional catwalk.
Prior to the show, guests were greeted by a computerised voice, echoing the following welcome:
“At 9pm precisely, the show will start. When the doors of the venue open, quickly take your place within the presentation. Feel free to sit or stand wherever you would like. Feel at ease with the mannequins who will be your companions here this evening, they are part of the installation and live event, as are you. The show will be presented in three parts.”
After the final bow, Raf Simons admitted the method behind his madness: “I don’t like to put my clothes on a pedestal with a glass between them.”