Originally Posted by Zeemon
...the newer collections were far more interesting than the early juvenile stuff.
I know I sort of addressed this in my previous post, but...really???
I'm uncertain of exactly what you refer to as the "early juvenile stuff" (and I'll admit, if you are going to make that argument there is quite a bit you could call upon). However, I'd argue that applying a negative connotation to juvenile is not just or appropriate in this case:
His actual early stuff (let's say 1995 to 2000) combines classic tailoring and real technical skill with a backdrop of some youth culture movements. I feel the precise, sharp, slim tailoring is at the forefront in these collections. If you ignore the coats and suits and focus on the few band shirts etc. then you are missing the point. Hedi (Dior Homme) is often credited with bringing in the really slim cut, but Raf started doing it before him. As a personal aside, check out FW98/99 and FW99/00 (probably my favorite menswear collections full stop)...sooo good!
From 2000/01 to 2005 there was a bit a move away from the precise, slim cut to a slightly wider, oversize silhouette and a greater emphasis on representing the chosen cultural and / or political influence. This is probably where most of the "juvenile" comments come in (with the oversize garments, patches, slogans, straps, distressing, etc.). However, I feel those details are more than matched by interesting fabric choices and good (if wider) cuts. A lot of these elements (such as the oversize clothes) are still being used by other designers. Again, as an aside, I feel that SS02 was a truly impressive runway show / representation of the times.
From 2005 to 2006 / 2007 / or 2008 (depending on how you see it) was the last time Raf had both a proper vision and the execution to back it up. With SS05 he returned to manipulating classic tailoring (for example; the voluminous pants he used on multiple occasions). FW06 (another of my favs) brought a touch of futurism that, IMO, was not a caricature of "the future" (something which is difficult to avoid). After that, one could argue when it went downhill. SS07 was simple, FW07 was a more business-like approach to the futurism idea, and SS08 was interesting if not my personal taste (though the whole high-fashion-hiker look is still being mined today). None of them were juvenile though.
From 2008, it was all about hollow imitations / throwbacks of older items and one note gimmicks. All this built upon a foundation of boring business-esque wear (and the price to quality ratio took a hit or was exposed as poor however you chose to look at it).