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Courtesy of Willy Vanderperre.

WILLY VANDERPERRE INC.

Raf Simons has joined forces with the London-born band, The xx.

To fete the 10th anniversary of their debut album, titled xx, The xx (which consists of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith) have teamed up with Simons on a series of t-shirts, patches, caps and pins. The collaboration will be available on December 12 via The xx’s online store, and through select retailers, including the e-tailer Ssense and Joyce, in Hong Kong.

It is not the first time Simons has connected with The xx; in 2017, he and the photographer Alasdair McLellan worked on the video for the band’s “I Dare You.”

So, The xx x Raf Simons in honor of xx. It sounds very meta, and indeed, it is: the pieces feature graphic colorful fabric applications on tank tops that depict rainbow spotlights in a club (or headlamps on a street; the image is abstract), or the mottled and mercurial illumination of rainfall on pavement (also abstract).

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Courtesy of Willy Vanderperre.
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Courtesy of Willy Vanderperre.

The visuals do recall, atmospherically, the late aughts. Regarding the collection, Simons said in a statement that the album “represents a very distinct sensibility linked to youth culture at the time. It succeeds in articulating and putting into words what is going on in the mind of kids when they are dealing with love, heartbreak, and friendships.” (These images, styled by Olivier Rizzo, first appeared in System Magazine; permission has been granted to republish.)

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Courtesy of Willy Vanderperre.

In this writer’s experience, it is true; there was a certain complex ideation to The xx’s synthetic and slowed down speak-singing that captured the character of being a college student as the 2000’s dimmed and the 2010’s began. The world was optimistic, but cautious, post-2008. We were hungover all the time, as everyone is in college, but with the dawn and sunrise of social media, everything felt extra-saturated and... well, not exactly clarified. The sentiment is lensed in Simons’s raw-edged, photo-realistic fabric cutouts.

And, fittingly, there are also “X” fasteners. xx won Britain’s Mercury Awards Album of the Year in 2010. Time to listen in, again; maybe on your flight home from Art Basel.

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Courtesy of Willy Vanderperre.