Today, I received the breaking news that Raf Simons will join Prada starting April 2, 2020. Rumors had been out since quite some time and now it is official. The Belgium designer will join the Italian fashion house as co-creative director alongside Miuccia Prada with equal responsibilities for creative input and decision-making. Their first runway presentation together will be for S/S 2021 in September 2020. «It’s a new wind,» said Miuccia Prada and I have to admit that I agree with Tim Blanks who wrote: «I cannot think of anything like this in the history of fashion.»
In 1978, Miuccia Prada inherited the label that was known for luggage making and transformed it into a global fashion brand with her creative designs. Prada has been a true trendsetter for decades, sometimes too fast thinking for the fashion world, she is often a few steps ahead of the game. Her iconic black nylon backpack launched in 1985 caused a real fashion frenzy and has been popular since then. In 1989 she added ready-to-wear to the offerings. Simons, who will continue to design his namesake menswear label, is the first designer from outside the Prada family to join the house since its inception.
Trendsetting: Prada S/S 2012 ad campaign photographed by Steven Meisel
Today at the Prada press conference, Simons announced: “Prada is a brand that I have been interested in my whole life. I cannot wait to express to all of you the dialogue I will have with Mrs Prada and her team. To be really honest, Mr Bertelli approached me right after my exit from Calvin Klein. Miuccia and I had a conversation about creativity in today’s fashion system. And it brought me to open dialogue with many designers, not just Mrs Prada. We have to re-look at how creativity can evolve in today’s fashion system.»
Power couple: Patrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada
Simons, who had worked with Prada and her husband Patrizio Bertelli before, when he was hired as creative director of Jil Sander in 2005. Prada had bought the German label and was looking for someone to fill the shoes of the namesake designer at that time. Simons’ seven-year tenure at the brand was an absolute success, and the Prada Group sold it to a London private equity firm in 2006.
Simons later worked at Dior and his latest venture was at Calvin Klein, where he was chief creative officer, and abruptly excited in December 2018.
Presented in Milan last Thursday: Miuccia Prada’s last single show for F/W 2020
Miuccia Prada has still a very strong view on fashion. Yet, it seems hard for her at the moment to translate this into sales. Rumors had been that the family is planning to sell to one of the big conglomerates. With the appointment of Simons, it seems that the Prada family will keep it a family business that also owns Miu Miu and Church’s.
Good luck, Raf!
They will have all my support – I have been collecting Prada pieces since a very young age and have always been very fond of the brand. Good luck to Raf, I am really excited to see what the two creative masterminds will come up with…
Photos: Courtesy of Prada and © Sandra Bauknecht