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SF Fashion Week

Raf Simons Excels From On High

PARIS, January 27, 2006 - For devotees of Raf Simons, no place is too hard to get to. In the past, they've wandered through the deep forest in the Bois de Vincennes, climbed up steep ramps of a parking garage in Montmartre, meandered through a maze of concrete corridors at La Villette, but the location for Friday evening's show topped them all. Long lines of guests stood in subzero temperature waiting to climb aboard cylindrical elevators destined for the top of La Grande Arche de la Défense - a towering structure inhabited principally by the French military, erected to the west of Paris. But once atop the monstrosity, the ascent was worth all the aggravation. The concrete interior was bathed in the soft blue of mega LED lights, and a stunning nighttime view of Paris spread out beyond the windows. This season Simons worked in a linear, terse silhouette that never budged from black, gray and white. Fanciful ribbed sweaters, boots sliced by circling rows of zippers, tailcoats cut to sartorial perfection, hoods pleated with vinyl ribbing, and high gloss puffy jackets made for an understated, though convincing, collection sure to be a hit with the young and the young at heart. Urban and sleek, these clothes look to the future rather than the past.

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