Welcome to “Show Notes,” in which FU’s critics offer an unfiltered peek at their musings and notebooks. For an in-depth analysis of the collections, don't miss our forthcoming "Report."
•Last night, Raf Simons took over Florence's Stazione Leopalda in an ode to Robert Mapplethorpe.
•The designer was contacted by the Foundation, and the collection that transpired—shown to an entirely standing audience, all leaning over white lines—explored the downtown artist's impactful mix of waifish men caught in then-transgressive sexual acts; distant Botticelli-locked boys; and in contrast to all the sex, leather, and artful fetishism, flowers.
•These images appeared on apron-like pieces and elongated shirting—look to one corner of a crisp, oversized, white-and-striped shirt, and you'll see a print of sepia-toned lover with a gun in hand.
•The palette was minimal and somber in greens, whites, blacks, blood red, and faded browns, as if drawn from Mapplethorpe's life and photographs. And the erotic details—leather caps, the ties around the boys' necks—placed the models as subjects.
•The fact that many of the boys appeared to look a bit like the artist himself—see the curly hair—added a feeling that, through Simons’ collection, we are taking a trip not just back to Mapplethorpe's archive, but living his art, like the artist did himself. A lot has changed since Mapplethorpe created the work sourced, and Simons’ creations, coming off of years of Robert and Patti permeating mass cultural consciousness, held a beautiful quietness and calm familiarity.
•Photos of the photographer's friends—Patti, Debbie Harry, and more—popped up on boxed prints, too.
•Massively oversized knits with open necks, which were tied together by large buttons, and elegant, cold, almost medicinal coats rounded out the restrained, respectful collection.