Raf Simons Curates Mapplethorpe On The Runway

Raf Simons

Raf Simons brings you an exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe‘s photography through the eyes of a fashion designer. This collection shown at Pitti Immagine Uomo shows us why minimalistic designs work so well with simplistic modern art photography. The modernity of Simons’ aesthetic plus his instinctive understanding of Mapplethorpe’s work create the best moving frames for the photography. The Runway Exhibit coincides with multiple international exhibitions of Mapplethorpe’s work at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Denmark, Los Angeles County Museum of Arts (LACMA), Galeri Nev in Istanbul and the J.Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation team has done well offering the world an opportunity to see the work through multiple mediums including the HBO documentary “Look At The Pictures” released earlier this year.


I first saw Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography at the Guggenheim in New York. The white spiral stairway descends as I engaged myself with each selected piece of Mapplethorpe’s work is of the same effect as seeing the digitally printed photographs on Simons’ collection for Spring Menswear 2017.

Simons, true to his own vision of minimalistic style, brings us well tailored trench coats paired with white shirts and skinny ties. Clean silhouettes in neutral shades of black, white, gray and beige showcase the art work perfectly like I am actually browsing the photography at a gallery. Models also look like they just walk out of Mapplethorpe’s photographs, they are alive as if they are simply walking in and out the frames between shutters. The runway show only adds an interactive element to the work of Mapplethorpe’s.

Our technological boom in digital textile printing has enabled these two artists from different times and genres to collaborate without time + space limit. Raf Simons, you are one who cannot be confined by traditional values and expectations, your creativity is best realized in modern settings.