‘I hoover now these days, a lot,’ says Raf Simons over the phone, each of us speaking from home. We’re discussing our domestic activities during these different and uncertain times. By chance, home is key to the Belgian fashion designer’s latest launch with Danish brand Kvadrat – two new textiles that exude a concert of comfort and cosiness.

‘They give me so much depth and time to develop things which I definitely relate to,’ says Simons fondly, reflecting on when Kvadrat CEO Anders Byriel proposed the collaboration to him. Kvadrat’s deadlines were somewhat different to his experiences in fashion – he got over a year to develop the first collection in 2014.

A slow and steady pace describes Simons’s latest collection with Kvadrat well – two new lines titled Helia and Silas. ‘I said that I would like to make a little switch in the feel of the fabric,’ Simons explains of his approach to this range. Previous collections have showcased dynamic juxtaposition in colours, and build on the historic techniques of Kvadrat. ‘For this collection I said I would like to stretch it out now and add elements of tactility and surface, physically as well as visually.’ The result is two textiles that have a thicker warp, are highly textured and soothing to hold.

Fabrics

Home, now more than ever, is an integral part of Simon’s life. ‘The home is a place where I can slow the whole thing down. More and more I think about functionality, calmness and privacy.’ Simons particularly sees homeliness in the Silas fabric, and the velvety, slightly rippled texture that is ‘not too pristine and clean. I wanted to [create] something that feels like you have been living with it for a long time.’

Simon’s mind went to furs, bouclé and cashmeres for inspiration too. ‘I was thinking about my time at Jil Sander back in the day. It was a daily thing to work with cashmeres, and the brand was into the idea of comfort and luxury, not only literally but also in a kind of feeling sense.’ Helia is bouclé textile that is woven to resemble the fur texture, with a patterned effect, while Silas has a cotton wool-style  surface, achieved though several days of unraveling and beating.

Fabric samples
Fabrics samples2

‘One of the things I’m most interested and obsessed with is colour,’ Simons expresses when discussing the palette choice. Compared to the brightness and bichrome intensity of previous ranges, the colours for these two new ranges are solid, warm and earthy. ‘There is also a couple of teddy bear colours,’ Simons mentions of the biscuit tones.

With these two textiles, Simons was eager to hone in on human feel, and how our bodies interact with them, a technical challenge for the Kvadrat lab that was achieved seamlessly, especially with Silas – Simons muses, ‘effectively it looks like a kind of cosy warm cashmere coat.’ §