Raf Simons’ independent aesthetic revolves around an innovative blending of colour and materials for which he is known in the fashion world (e.g. Jil Sander, Christian Dior). Raf Simons’ collection of textiles and accessories for the home is both sophisticated and playful, whilst produced to the exacting standards associated with Kvadrat.
Started in 2014, the collaboration between Kvadrat and Raf Simons is built on a mutual appreciation for fine craftsmanship. The collection is based on materials that both reflect Kvadrat’s commitment to quality and Raf Simons’ refined elegance.
In 2005 Raf Simons became artistic director of the Jil Sander label, which under his tenure became known for its vital, sophisticated modernism. In 2012 Raf Simons was named creative director of Dior Women, a position that he held until late in 2015. After concentrating for a number of months on his own label and other collaborations, in August of 2016 Simons was confirmed as the new Chief Creative Officer of the American fashion label Calvin Klein. His acclaimed first collection for the brand was presented in February 2017.
A passionate collector of contemporary art and modern design, Simons’ aesthetic is often informed by his admiration for art and he regularly engages in interdisciplinary collaborations.
The first Kvadrat/Raf Simons collection received its debut public airing unannounced in January 2014, in an appropriately fashionable setting when textiles from the collection were used in Raf Simons’ highly acclaimed menswear collection in collaboration with artist Sterling Ruby. In 2015 Kvadrat/Raf Simons upholstery designs graced the Paris runway on more than one occasion, when Raf Simons presented his A/W 2015 and A/W 2016 menswear collection, at the Christian Dior Couture show A/W 2014—15 and Christian Dior Ready To Wear A/W 2015.
Every collection has its own distinctive perspective:
Kvadrat-Raf Simons’ Balder 3 – 942 is a subtly variegated colours bring an inviting softness to upholstered furniture. Originally designed by Fanny Aronsen and re-coloured by Raf Simons, Balder is woven from several different tones of thread in an apparently irregular weave pattern that creates subtle fluctuations in colour across the surface of the fabric. Ranging from fresh and directional to reassuringly classic and rich, the key colourways of Balder are based around greens, greys, purples, pinks and yellow. In some instances the base colour is combined with a top note colour – in one a pink is woven together with a vibrant orange, in another with a vibrant green – with refreshing, but surprisingly understated results.
Kvadrat-Raf Simons’ Sonar 1 – 132 is inspired by the fine suiting tweeds used in high fashion garments, Sonar 1 and Sonar 2 present a complex and sophisticated mixture of colours and texture. Woven from bouclé yarn – nubbly-textured fibres twisted from a combination of tight and loose threads – Sonar 1 is a more closely woven, even-textured fabric, while Sonar 2 showcases the textural irregularities of the bouclé. The tighter-textured Sonar 1 brings together neutral tones of white, natural wool and black with flashes of true red and royal blue. The resulting combinations range from restful, pale weaves with the richer tone peeping through, to a dramatic design dominated by black and red.
Kvadrat-Raf Simons’ Masai – 762 is a fine, softly draping wool-blend cloth with a very pronounced ridged twill stripe, Masai unites glossy jewel shades of emerald, sapphire, quartz rose and deep ruby with mineral tones of granite, graphite, midnight blue and pale neutrals. Graphically bold, the crisp geometry of Masai allows for the introduction of strong colours without their becoming overly dominant.
Kvadrat-Raf Simons’ Noise – 852 collection has a rich, uneven texture inspired by high fashion bouclé textiles. The Kvadrat-Raf Simons’ Noise is a striking wool blend in which the strong diagonal stripe is broken up by flecks of sharp or neutral colour. As well as base tones rooted in a palette of subtle biscuit or stone, the Kvadrat-Raf Simons’ Noise makes a feature of strong colour blends and highlights: neutral tones of black, grey and natural wool are interwoven with hot pinks, electric blues, and fiery reds, or lit up by sparks of turquoise or buttercup yellow.
Kvadrat-Raf Simons’ Ria – 741 collection takes inspiration from Pointillism, the painterly technique through which vibrant fields of colour are built up through the application of pure pigment in precise, individual dots. Kvadrat-Raf Simons’ Ria colourways brings together three tones of yarn. The base of the textile is made up of a thinner, single toned yarn, through which are woven two colours of thicker yarn to create a subtly textured dotting of colour across the surface. Softer colourways include a duck egg blue ground with tones of primrose and golden yellow; stone with winter white and lavender; and natural wool with dusty pink and pine green. Similar tones play out across darker variations of Ria, which are woven with a charcoal base. Bolder versions of both paler and darker colourways incorporate yarns in a true orange and cobalt blue. As with the optic mixture created by the Pointillists, the fragmented colours of Ria created a subtle shimmering effect, which is emphasised by the use of viscose. Continuing the exploration of three-dimensional texture found throughout the Kvadrat-Raf Simons collection, Ria has an inviting rough texture.
Kvadrat-Raf Simons’ Pilot – 652 collection presents a handsome bouclé fabric marries the softness and intense colour of merino wool to the lustre of contrasting yarns. Base colours ranging from soft greys and blues through to cerise, powder-pink and deep orange are flecked with glossy threads of silvery grey, gold, pearlescent white and blue. The effects range from the glamour of a rich charcoal flecked with old gold, to the freshness of a shell pink shot through with pewter. The nubbly texture of a bouclé weave is closely associated with high-end fashion garments. The colourways used in Pilot relate closely to key garments designed by Raf Simons in recent collections. Created by weaving with a combination of tight and loose yarns that leave little loops and circlets on the surface of the textile, the irregularities in surface texture and colour result in a very sophisticated fabric that is none the less suitable for general upholstery.
Kvadrat-Raf Simons’ Fuse – 631 collection is a densely woven wool and cotton blend that creates a close pattern of ribbed stripes in which the weave creates rows of stich-like patterning. Because the stripes of Fuse are fragmented rather than solid, the two colours in the textile meld, creating a subtle mid colour when seen across a larger surface. This fusing of the colours mellows even apparently sharp combinations such as the autumnal orange on charcoal, or a zesty yellow on beige. It also brings complexity to combinations of forest greens or cream tones. The lighter colourways may include foreign fibers adding to its richness and vibrancy. While the colour palette of Fuse relates strongly to those of Pulsar and Reflex, the almost blended colours of this stripe design allow for particularly rich colour associations when used in combination with other textiles in the collection.