Raf Simons made his return to Pitti Uomo in its proper, trademark way; he transformed Florence´s Stazione Leopolda into a 90´s inspired warehouse, "equipped" with electronic music, some coloured spotlights and an extent of distressed old mannequins turned into installation, showcasing a range of the brand´s past, iconic pieces, a sort of celebration for the brand´s 20th anniversary. In that atmosphere, accentuated by the music from the "King Arthur" opera, Simons presented a collection that was not only inspired by Robert Mapplethorpe´s work, but was actually a true-homage to this giant of modern American photography, known for his really striking black and white images, among them loads of self-portraits, nudes, still lives and New York´s underground BSDM scene of the ´60s and the ´70s.

"I was contacted by the foundation, usually it’s me contacting the artists," Simons said right after the show. "They wanted to see if these could be transported to another field or medium."

The designer had a free access to the Mapplethorpe´s complete archive. He selected several images from different periods of photographer´s career, including portraits of Patti Smith, which he used as prints on every single outfit present on a runway. The result is a collection evoking New York underground mood, made of oversize cotton shirts, apron skirts over slim pants, apron tops and oversized, distressed sweaters with a very low neckline, revealing photo-prints featured on tops.

/ original images and video courtesy of raf simons, except the main original image courtesy of adam katz sinding /

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