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1999 'Kinetic Youth' Badge Curved Hem T-Shirt

Raf Simons

1999 'Kinetic Youth' Badge Curved Hem T-Shirt


IT 48: Best for any size between a large IT 44 - 34 Chest - XS and a slim IT 48 - 38 Chest - S/M.

Raf Simons top from S/S 1999 'Kinetic Youth'. In excellent used condition. Made in Belgium.

Simons's S/S 1999 collection was inspired by the restraint of Bauhaus and the nonchalance of high school gymnasium outfits. Sportswear was effortlessly combined with tailoring to create a relaxed atmosphere, while simple silhouettes and clean lines gave a uniform-like cohesion to the clothes, often disrupted by raw edges and subtle splashes of colour. The streamlined aesthetic of the show was given a monumental dimension by the location of the runway at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie in Paris, with the models walking on concrete walkways before a gigantic mirrored globe. Cathy Horyn writes:

'The central question about Simons, and the one that has gone unanswered, is: How did he do it? How was someone without training or signs of genius able to project such a remarkably accurate portrait of urban youth? And not only that, but how was he able to give the idea by his choice of music and use of large public spaces that youth was also a monumental event?'

This T-shirt channels the collection's uniform-inspired aesthetic through its minimal yet intriguing decoration. Placed on the right side of the chest, the print has a simple rectangular grid design that evokes the modernist imagery of youth organizations from across the world. Indeed, a simple internet search reveals that 'kinetic youth' is part of the name of several youth academies and religious organizations. 

The cut of the T-shirt is narrow and form-fitting, with defined shoulders and slim sleeves. Like many tops from Raf Simons's 90s collections, the proportions are short for a sharp waist-length silhouette with a shirt-like curved hem (pictured: S/S 1997 'How to Talk to Your Teen' and S/S 1998 'Black Palms'). The punk-inspired cut is complemented by a soft cotton fabric (Mislabeled as polyester/viscose) with a smooth texture and generous stretch that makes the T-shirt a pleasure to wear. The wide crew neckline and sleeves are finished with self-fabric binding.

This enticing piece exemplifies the nuanced and profound appreciation of the experience of youth that characterises many of Simons's early designs. Although simply constructed, its well thought-out details demonstrate that, when done right, less can be more.

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