2002 'Archives' Virgin Wool Classic Tailored Coat
Size 48: Best for an IT 46 - 36 Chest - S or an IT 48 - 38 Chest - S/M.
Raf Simons Chesterfield coat from A/W 2002-2003 'Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus Quinquefolia)'. In brand new condition without tags, with replacement buttons; the exterior and interior pockets are sewn shut. Made in Belgium. RRP: £920
Although this beautiful coat was produced for A/W 2002, it belongs to the Raf Simons Archives collection that was sold exclusively at Dover Street Market during A/W 2004. 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: A/W 1999, S/S 2000, 2002 and 2003) 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)
The coat has an elegant slim cut with narrow structured shoulders, high armholes, elongated sleeves and a fitted body. The fabric is a robust woolen cloth made from 100% virgin wool. The fabric's beautiful grey melange colour lends itself well to the streamlined design. Inspired by the classic Chesterfield coat, the front 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 back is finished with a long vent and the cuffs feature three functional buttons. The overall look is extremely modern while maintaining the timeless grace of traditional tailoring.
The construction of this piece is excellent like the majority of Raf Simons tailoring. Fully canvassed for a precise and structured silhouette, the coat is fully lined in textured black cotton on the body and smooth viscose satin on the sleeves. All buttons are realised from genuine buffalo horn. The collar is backed with black felt and the neck is finished with Simons's signature black metal chain. 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.