Fashion

Raf Simons’ SS ’17 Collection Features a Giant Boner

Fashion

Raf Simons’ SS ’17 Collection Features a Giant Boner

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Raf Simons debuted his much anticipated spring ’17 menswear collection at Florence’s Pitti Uomo this week. With leather hats, overcoats and oxford-style shirts, the designer mixed soft and hard—literally. In collaboration with The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Simons featured Mapplethorpe’s famed black-and-white photos of boners, bondage and boobs.

After he was approached by the Foundation, Simons decided to scrap the collection he’d already been working on to create something entirely new, both inspired by and covered in Mapplethorpe’s photos. “I wanted to approach it like a museum show, or a gallery show,” he said. “I am a fashion designer. I thought the biggest challenge would be to do it in my own environment.”

The result was finely tailored menswear emblazoned with big hard dicks.



Mapplethorpe built his career on self-portraits and photos of young men, exploring sexuality through his documentation of the late ’60s and early ’70s NYC BDSM scene. He also captured some of the most notable faces from the Manhattan art world, including his ex-girlfriend, Patti Smith, responsible for the portrait on the cover of her seminal debut album, Horses. Almost exclusively in black-and-white, Mapplethorpe’s photos showcase a raw honesty and eroticism that, along with his self-portraits, depict the artist’s own journey learning to understand and celebrate his sexuality.

Three years after Mapplethorpe was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, he founded The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to promote the photographic arts and fund medical research to combat AIDS and HIV. Since his death in 1989, The Foundation has funded various research grants and continued the artist’s legacy with projects, like the collaboration with Raf Simons.