1998 Vintage Cotton Peak Lapel Minimalist Evening Coat
Size 46: Best for an IT 46 - 36 Chest - S or a large IT 44 - 34 Chest - XS.
Raf Simons tailored coat from S/S 1998 'Black Palms'. In excellent used condition with minor fading; all interior pockets remain sewn shut. Made in Belgium.
In our view, Raf Simons's tailoring offers one of the most interesting and nuanced expressions of his subculture-inspired vision. On a first impression, the absence of graphic decorations evokes associations with traditional menswear. At the same time, however, Simons's progressive attitude ensured that his tailoring was highly unconventional and like nothing that had come before him. Cathy Horyn explains:
'Simons is probably the most influential men's-wear designer of the last decade. "He did everything before anyone else, and everybody has copied him," Marie-Amelie Sauve, the stylist for Balenciaga, said. Although Simons is virtually unknown outside the small world of European men's fashion (he shows in Paris), his effect on the way young men dress cannot be overstated. Only with training, genius, intoxicating amounts of culture and possibly a discreet drug habit have a handful of designers been able to change the shape of clothes. Simons, without any of these advantages, has done it three times. The first time was in the mid-1990's, at the beginning of his career, when he came out with suits that were cut unusually small in the shoulders. [...] If Gucci's caftans and Jean Paul Gaultier's cowboy chaps didn't represent the same emotional trip to this generation, Simons's minimalist suits did. They became the dominant silhouette of the late 90's. I once asked him what made him think of that shape. As usual, he had a straightforward explanation. "It was just because we were so small," he said.' (our emphasis)
Simons's signature narrow shoulderline and razor-sharp proportions gave an unexpectedly youthful element to classic garments and, for the first time, people with slender frames could find tailoring that was designed for their profile. While Simons's much-coveted streetwear glorifies youth cultures through visuals, it could be argued that Raf Simons tailoring takes this attitude and gives it real substance though craft and sartorial know-how.
This spectacular coat was one of Simons's early signatures and appeared in several of his shows in the 1990s, most notably A/W 98 'Radioactivity' (shown oversized). The design is a minimalist adaptation of classic tailored coats, featuring a beautiful double-button closure that leads up to striking peak lapels. Invisible slit waist pockets placed along the side seams and a long vent reinforce the precise silhouette. The cut is skinny featuring structured shoulders and narrow sleeves. The coat is crafted from a medium-weight cotton fabric with subtle vertical stripes that has been overdyed and washed to give it a vintage appearance. The fabric's irregularly textured surface adds depth to the clean lines of the piece.
The coat is constructed to a high standard like all Raf Simons tailoring. The precisely canvassed construction gives a sculptural drape to the torso, while the exaggerated lapels have a beautiful three-dimensional shape. An additional button can be used to change their appearance to achieve a more conservative effect. The sleeves are finished without buttons for a clean look, while the undercollar features a black felt insert. The interior is fully lined in smooth viscose sateen and features two pockets and a grosgrain hanging tab on the neck.
Overall, this is an exceptionally rare and iconic example of early Raf Simons tailoring. Its striking design and visionary silhouette demonstrate the Belgian designer's forward-thinking attitude, while making it timelessly relevant despite its age. Strongly recommended.