THE CROWD at Raf Simons’s Spring 2017 menswear show at Pitti Immagine Uomo in Florence seemed more uptight than usual, yet that’s exactly how Mr. Simons intended it: Scattered among the wound-up throngs of editors, buyers and gate-crashers were 266 secondhand mannequins, some seated stiffly, others frozen into upright positions, all clothed in archival pieces from his 21-year career in fashion. Though the dummies were arresting, the Belgian designer, 48, later downplayed this unconventional look back. “The pieces weren’t chosen with a certain kind of curatorial intention,” said Mr. Simons. “I didn’t want it to look like a typical kind of retrospective.”
Mission accomplished: Between the spooky setting in a cavernous former train station, the wooden mannequins and his decision to show “off calendar” (forgoing his usual Paris Fashion Week time slot), it all felt more like a Robert Gober art show than a museum tribute. Mr. Simons is, after all, still hard at work, his every move watched by industry insiders amid speculation that he may be joining Calvin Klein—after concluding 3½ years as creative director of Christian Dior’s women’s collection, in 2015.
Mr. Simons continued to riff on his signature elegance in his Pitti Uomo menswear show. The cornerstone of the collection was a series of loose, photo-enhanced shirts, knits and jackets created in collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation: voluminous pieces emblazoned with images of Debbie Harry or eroticized flowers by the photographer, who died in 1989.
Much like his designs, our chat with the usually circumspect Mr. Simons reflected a broad array of preoccupations and influences. He was outspoken about tailoring (“so much bad suiting out there”) and his design process (“no system, no rules, no structure”) but also about mobile phones, the African countryside and ’70s dance music.
One of my favorite spots in the world is: Puglia in Italy. There’s a house by the sea I go to, and outside, it’s just a horizon line. It’s that feeling of eternity: It allows you to think. If you put me there, I wouldn’t need love or anything anymore.
Between the country or the city, I prefer: the country. I live in Antwerp, a city that’s kind of like a village.
A place I’d like to visit again is: Kruger National Park in South Africa. It’s mind-blowing how it sits so far away from anything you’ve ever experienced in a city. There were no people, no proof of human life, just animals and animal behavior. It’s survival of the strongest, which is fascinating.
One thing I’ve had forever is: A yellow T-shirt with a black print on it from the movie “The Shining” that goes way back to when I was a teenager.
If I could be granted one wish, it would be: solidarity. That may sound emotional—politically emotional—but with everything that’s happening, I wish everybody would just let each other be in peace.
A current band I love is: The **. At first they seemed weird but they overwhelm me—massively—all the time with their intelligence. They may be the group that’s had the most impact on me in the last five years.
An old album I still listen to is: Kraftwerk’s “The Man-Machine” . My 1998 show was called “Kraftwerk” because I had four boys in red shirts in it who looked like replicas of the band members.
If I could tell my 20-year-old self one thing, it would be: grab and protect love when you find it. Cherish it, focus on it, concentrate on it.
My dream client would be: anyone, really. When I design, I am thinking about a lot of people, not just one. It’s more about connecting to a certain kind of generation or a certain kind of person that will connect to what we do.
I always wear: Adidas Stan Smiths. I have had periods where I only wore Stan Smiths, maybe from age 15 until I was 25.
The place that most inspires me is:everywhere. Some people have to go for a swim or have a holiday to be inspired, but for me, it’s there when I walk out the door.
My favorite movie directors are: Stanley Kubrick, Todd Haynes and Alfred Hitchcock.Kubrick’s movies are so visually striking, especially “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Eyes Wide Shut.”
I collect: art. I started collecting more than 15 years ago. Cady Noland, Richard Prince,Cindy Sherman, Isa Genzken, Rosemarie Trockel, Charlie Ray, Robert Gober are artists that have made a huge impact on me on all levels, emotionally, conceptually, visually.
The hardest part of a man’s wardrobe to get right is: the tie and suit. [There is] so much bad suiting out there in terms of fit, style and fabric. So, when I design, I don’t start with fit or fabric, but with meaning. The phrase “suit and tie” has a special place in our vocabulary.
One of my favorite books is: The Christiane F. book [“Zoo Station: The Story of Christiane F.”—about a teenage ****** addict]. The movie  was an amazing interpretation, but the book is more striking.
I feel most proud about: simple things like being able to handle love and friendship and family. Or taking care of my dog. Of course, I do also feel proud of what I do.
I am a big fan of: furniture design, especially French or Swiss designers such as Jean Royère, Pierre Jeanneret and Jean Prouvé as well as Japanese-American designer George Nakashima. I love how beautifully designed furniture sits in history—it’s unpretentious.
The one thing I always travel with is: my sweatshirt from Vier, a skateshop in Antwerp. “Vier” is the Dutch word for four. I always take it on flights because I refuse to put on the pajamas they give to you.
I wish I could always be with: my dog, Luca, a Beauceron, who behaves like everything except a dog—more like a cat or a frog. She’s still a baby.
The one thing I wish didn’t exist is: mobile phones. I am old enough to remember how it was before them. There was something much more beautiful about not having one. We communicated in such a different way with each other.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-2016 | www.marieaustralia.com/vintage-formal-dresses