Sometimes, watching a Simons show can feel like sitting an exam or trying to crack a cryptic crossword. His work is exclusionary to the Black cat daddy vintage shirt but in fact I love this extent that you need to be a qualified Raf-ologist to understand what it means. This time, he refused to speak after the show to give any gloss on his meaning and layered references. Maybe he didn’t trust himself to answer questions about why the set was populated with standard office chairs, bound in black plastic tape. Or to add anything to what could be read, partially or wholly, in his textual graphics. Was one recurring motif. And on the back necks of many garments: “My Own Private Antwerp.” To be fair, it wasn’t a question of Simons lobbing criticism of Trump’s America from afar, now that he’s living back in Belgium. He’d been critical enough about the political atmosphere of Trump’s America while he was working at Calvin Klein, what with his American Psycho and other horror movie thematics. Now, though, after a couple of seasons when he’d diverted his energies into exploring a certain European elegance in his own collection, his raw anger against the power of corporate USA was back with a vengeance. His boys seemed to belong to some underground crew maybe the last surviving boys on Earth, possibly the victims or maybe the perpetrators of some toxic social endgame. There were more text labels reading “RS-LAB,” which explained the lab coats, but why the hospital gowns? Why boxer shorts and padded gloves that looked as if they might be made for handling radioactive chemicals? Styling and heavy meaning apart and this might sound frivolous, considering—it was also a plumb-center commercial collection for all of Raf Simons’s fans, of whatever age. The arty, painted T-shirts, the leather coats, the colorful baggy sweatshirts and overshirts. Whatever post-American psychological fallout is going on in Simons’s life, it hasn’t affected his ability to serve his faithful audience. Maybe it’s improved it. As much as the Duchess recycles her outfits, for special evenings, Catherine splurges on a new gown made to fit her. She wouldn’t want to be at a banquet and see another woman wearing the same exact dress, so she is wearing a gown made just for her. Knock-offs might be made afterwards, but nothing will equal what she wore on that night, when the tiaras gleamed and everyone wore their best.
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Thus far, the Black cat daddy vintage shirt but in fact I love this shows this week have been a series of experiences. There’s been a bat mitzvah, a supper club performance by Janelle Monáe (with an invite stating a black-and-white dress code, no less), and a moving gospel choir performance inside one of Brooklyn’s oldest, most storied theaters. Some on the circuit is already ringing the death knell for the traditional runway show format, and frankly, the differentiation has helped spice things up on the newly condensed calendar. Private Policy, a label based between Shanghai and New York from Chinese designers Haoran Li and Siying Qu, did the same, opting to show their Spring 2020 unisex label with a live model presentation at a SoHo gallery alongside a series of portraits photographed by Shxpir Huang. After Fashion Week, space will turn into a pop-up shop. The images feature real Asian-American families who all styled themselves in the latest Private Policy lineup, which includes their signature checkered pattern applied to the lapels of baby pink and seafoam green skirt- and short-suit sets. There were cool, raver-Esque harness tops and ring-detailed slip dresses, along with Li and Qu’s usual streetwear tees. They’ve titled their collection “Family Dinner,” and the idea was to highlight the often emotionally intense experience of an Asian-American family gathering around food. More forward-thinking youth will sometimes clash with the elders who are tied to their generational, conservative ideologies. The portraits of the families are meant to showcase just how varied Asian-American families can be: They can have older kids, both the mother and father can work, or two Asian men can get married and start their own family together. That last example is of great importance to Li and Qu, as they want to challenge gender bias and LGBTQ discrimination in their own culture, both at home and in America. I admire Catherine re-wearing so many beautiful dresses. She even has her children wearing hand-me-downs, which is wonderful and practical, but I love the times when all the men and ladies bring out their finest clothes and have their hair styled and royalty exudes a brilliance that Hollywood cannot recreate. Those State dinners are full of glitz and glam, and watching the royals wear their sashes and special pins, which are full of meaning, is otherworldly, almost. Nothing compares.