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Raf Simons x Prada: Everything we know about fashion's most exciting partnership

‘We think it’s probably the first time that two designers, two mature designers, decided to work together,’ says Miuccia Prada

Olivia Petter
Monday 24 February 2020 11:07
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The fashion world let out a universal yelp of excitement on Sunday when it was revealed that Belgian designer Raf Simons would be joining Prada as co-creative director with Miuccia Prada.

According to a statement released on behalf of the Italian brand, Simons and Prada will have “equal responsibilities for creative input and decision-making” in a move set to take effect on 1 April.

Fashion fans have spent more than a year speculating over Simons’s next move following his stint at the helm of Calvin Klein, which he left in December 2018.

The 52-year-old is feted for his subversive aesthetic, one that he has brought to numerous brands including Jil Sander, his own eponymous menswear label and most famously, Dior.

In 2014, Simons’s work at Dior was the subject of a documentary, Dior and I, which propelled the designer into the public eye.

As the fashion world waits to see what the partnership will bring, here’s everything we know so far.

How long has this been in the works?

Patrizio Bertelli, chief executive officer of Prada – and Miuccia Prada’s husband – reportedly contacted Simons about working together immediately after he left Calvin Klein in 2018.

“Mr. Bertelli emailed me,” Simons told The Cut. “Then he called and he asked me to come to Milan. It was a very open dialogue about Prada’s future in general.”

The duo continued to have meetings about the brand. Then, Simons explained, out of those meetings came the thought: "Why not do it together?

Have Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons worked together before?

Simons has previously worked under Bertelli, who chose him to be creative director of Jil Sander – which was then owned by Prada – in 2005, where he remained until 2012.

It was Simons's first role in womenswear design, having previously established himself as a menswear designer in Antwerp, where he is originally from.

Does this mean Miuccia Prada is retiring?

Prada, 71, has denied that the decision to share her role with Simons is to prepare for her eventual retirement.

Instead, as the duo explained at a press conference in Milan, they see the partnership as a chance to boost creativity.

The New York Times reports Simons as saying that the “fashion industry is moving more and more toward an industry that might end up excluding creatives".

The designer continued: “I see more and more the possibility of having a strong business without strong creation. That is something we do not agree with, Miuccia and myself, and I know for a fact many designers do not agree with.

"We think we should not forget in this business about creativity.”

Prada added: “It is true we need to reinforce the creative aspect in the business. We like each other, we respect each other and we will see if we go somewhere.”

When can we expect the first Raf Simons x Miuccia Prada collection?

The first joint collection from the two acclaimed designers will be for spring/summer 2021.

And it will debut at Milan Fashion Week in September later this year.

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