Fashion Framing Photography – An homage to Robert Mapplethorpe by Raf Simons



American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989), founded his eponymous Foundation a few months before his death to protect his legacy, to further promote photography as a full-fledged art form, and to support scientific research into AIDS and HIV. Last year, the foundation contacted Raf Simons with the proposition of a collaboration. Very soon after, Simons paid a personal homage in his Spring/Summer 2017 collection to Mapplethorpe, one of the most influential and ground-breaking photographers of the 20th century. Simons studied his extensive oeuvre in the Mapplethorpe archives in New York City. He selected more than one hundred images, spanning artist portraits (Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Alice Neel), iconic self-portraits, and abstract, sexualized images of flowers.


With a curatorial approach and instinct, Simons wanted to make Mapplethorpe’s oeuvre more accessible to an audience that might not frequent museums or art galleries. Simons introduced Mapplethorpe to his own world, that of men’s fashion. The collection reads as a Mapplethorpe exhibition, with photographs embedded in garments that hold a striking simplicity in order not to disturb or dominate the purity of Mapplethorpe’s images. Pants were made of shiny PVC, and the sweaters and shirts were oversize and designed to frame the pictures onto the wearer’s body. Fully crediting both creators, the clothing labels read: Raf Simons // Robert Mapplethorpe. MoMu is very pleased to welcome these silhouettes to its collection.

Credits: Catwalkpictures