After months of rumours, Raf Simons officially confirmed Sunday that he would join Prada as co-creative director with Miuccia Prada. This move, effective April 1, came as quite a bit of a shock to the fashion world, marking the first time two renowned designers, and two of the most influential designers in fashion, matter fact, have decided to work together. Indeed, it may very well have the potential to reshape the fashion world.
The Belgian designer will work in partnership with Prada, the heavyweight of the Italian fashion industry, with equal responsibilities for creative input and decision-making, as stated in its announcement. Their first collection will be for the Spring/Summer 2021 womenswear show that will show in Milan in September 2020.
“ [The partnership] opens a new dialogue, between designers widely acknowledged as two of the most important and influential of today. Conceptually, it is also a new approach to the very definition of creative direction for a fashion brand - a strong challenge to the idea of singularity of creative authorship, whilst also a bold reinforcement of the importance and power of creativity in a shifting cultural landscape,” stated Prada in a press release.
Questions loomed over this might signal a move towards Prada’s retirement. However, the designer made the clear that this was not, at a press conference in Milan announcing their partnership. “ Absolutely not. I like working and this way I will work a bit more… I anticipate more discussion, more ideas,” she said. The Italian designer is 70 this year and in her 42nd year designing for the company which was founded by her grandfather in 1913.
Simons has already had a longstanding relationship with the Prada group. He took over as creative director of Jil Sander in 2005, back when Prada still controlled the brand, and brought it to commercial success in his seven year tenure. It was also his first job in women’s fashion, changing his course of career. In 2012, he went over to Dior, and in 2016 to Calvin Klein.
Both designers have a mutual respect for each other. In conversation with each other published by Systems magazine in 2016, they discussed the structures within fashion business and having the need to share more ideas with one another, and even hinted at taking turns of working on each other’s respective labels.
This offhand comment has proven prophetic. On the unique arrangement, Simons said, “I think that the fashion business has recently stopped exploring its own possibilities; it should become much more liberated once again.”
The Miu Miu part of Prada, however, still remains in question.