“It’s absolute carnage,” said the model Ted Le Sueur, describing the typical scene backstage after a Raf Simons show, which is usually flooded with hordes of well-wishers and admirers.
That was particularly true on Wednesday night, which saw Simons make the much anticipated New York debut of his namesake label at Chelsea’s Gagosian Gallery—a more “white cube-y” venue than usual for the designer, who, as the model pointed out, usually prefers “a warehouse somewhere in Paris.”
Le Sueur, 21, would know: He’s walked the past two and a half years’ worth of shows for the designer, starting with his spring 2015 collection, which found him alongside Simons’ mother and father backstage. Not that that one exactly still stands out to the model. “I can’t really remember the first time [we met] because I’ve met him so many times now, it’s kind of just merged into one,” Le Sueur said. “It’s a cliché, but each one outdoes the one prior.”
This season’s show, however, was “definitely special,” and not just because “you could tell it meant a lot to Raf.” A love letter to New York, Simons' spring 2017 collection was a mix of tailoring and I <3 NY Milton Glaser references, tied together—literally—by duct tape, in the form of belts cinched around models’ waists. Each read phrases like “walk with me” and “I love you,” though were admittedly missing from Le Sueur’s look of an oversized black coat and baggy brown trousers. (He joked, as perhaps only a Raf favorite could, that it was therefore “not as iconic.”)
Not that Simons’ brand is the only one that Le Sueur, who’s from Nottingham, England, has grown close with since he first got scouted at Glastonbury Festival in 2013: he’s also forged runway bonds with Dries Van Noten and Louis Vuitton. His additional gig as a fit model, though, remains “just for Raf,” even if it has suffered a bit from the newfound distance.
Still, like a good long distance relationship, the pair remain committed. “I had a direct booking for this because I’ve actually got my thesis in on Monday,” Le Sueur, who studies studio art at Central Saint Martins, said with a laugh. “I’m flying right back right today because I need to get back and finish it.”
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