2003 Vintage Laddered Cotton Classic Tailored Coat
Size 52 (slim): Best for an IT 48 - 38 Chest - S/M or a slim IT 50 - 40 Chest - M.
Raf Simons Chesterfield coat from S/S 2003 'Consumed'. In excellent used condition; the exterior and interior pockets are sewn shut. Made in Belgium.
Raf Simons's S/S 2003 collection was another bold exploration of the avant-garde designer's streetwear repertoire. This time, Simons introduced a sinister, post-apocalyptic narrative exploring ideas of commodification, advertising narratives and cultural appropriation. Realised in a largely monochrome palette, the clothes featured intricately layered details and deconstructed elements, while adorned with appropriated corporate logos, ambiguous messages and bold graphic elements. Entitled 'Consumed', the collection has been venerated as one of Simons's most radical moments. Peter Henderson explains:
"Fashion collections which tackle quite political, controversial themes often tend to descend into a sort of hyperactive farce (with inevitable comparisons to the ‘Derelicte’ collection in the film Zoolander), but Simons manages the matter masterfully, first because the collection is underpinned by sharp tailoring, and second because he merely observes the matter of consumerism and does not take sides. Simons was interested in exploring how brand codes, logos, and corporate language have permeated mainstream culture and society, and how today’s youth have adapted; he also considers the risks of being consumed as we consume."
Although this beautiful coat was the collection's key tailoring piece, its design dates back to 1997 (S/S 1998 'Black Palms') and it is undeniably one of Simons's most iconic garments. It has been showcased on almost every runway collection until the mid 00s (pictured: S/S 2003, 2002 and 2000) and new variations are still introduced to this day. The coat's precise lines and idiosyncratic silhouette have become synonymous with Simons's tailoring. 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)
Inspired by classic Chesterfield designs, the coat has concealed button closure and angular lapels. The off-centre position of the buttons creates a subtly asymmetrical look that is reminiscent of how a larger coat would overlap if it was altered to fit tighter. The cut is slim and elegant with narrow structured shoulders, high armholes, elongated sleeves and a fitted body with a long vent. The overall look is extremely modern while maintaining the timeless grace of traditional tailoring.
The piece is crafted from a dense cotton that has been washed extensively and then overdyed to give it a vintage faded finish with minor texture variations. The fabric has a faint pinstripe pattern, which results from the repeated drop of a thread (similar to ladders in knitwear). The intriguing nature and worn-out appearance of the material fit in well with the collection's dark aesthetic. The construction features precise canvassing for a clean and structured appearance, while the interior is fully lined in textured black cotton on the body and smooth viscose satin on the sleeves. The collar is backed with black felt and the neck is finished with a leather pull tab. Overall, all seams are perfectly executed inside and out, giving an exceptionally clean finish to the piece.
Overall, this is a rare piece captures Simons's unparalleled avant-garde experimentation at its most wearable. The sharp lines and exceptional cut of the piece demonstrate how ahead of their time Simons's early collections were, and will make a confident statement in a variety of sophisticated outfits.