It’s a testament to the stylist Ray Petri’s genius that more than 15 years after his death, his influence is everywhere. At the spring shows, his spirit turned up in collections as diverse as D&G (tribal power), Alexander McQueen (Harlem dandies) and Junya Watanabe (sports gear as high fashion). Even his personal uniform of dark jeans, bomber jacket and porkpie hat has recently been sighted in Lower Manhattan, Omotesando and Hoxton Square.
“Ray Petri is an inspiration for most people in men’s wear,” says the designer Kim Jones, who, like Petri, makes a point of routinely exploring offbeat cultural signifiers. “He worked with a loyal group of people to create a new aesthetic, and his references were so on target that they are still relevant today. This is extremely rare in fashion, where everything seems to move so quickly.”
"Ray created an entire personal world,” recalls the photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino.
“He was obsessed with ‘bad boys,’ Jamaican culture and Native American imagery, and was always surrounded by a crowd of beautiful people. It was a true collective — in a way it reminded me of the Surrealist movement, but everyone was cool and relaxed. We would sit around listening to music, smoking a joint, and ideas would just come to us.”