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Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons. Courtesy of Prada.

Designer Raf Simons Joins Prada as Cocreative Director

Prada has announced that Belgian designer Raf Simons, a former chief creative officer of Calvin Klein, will join the brand as a cocreative director on April 2. Simons will work closely with designer Miuccia Prada on the company’s women’s and men’s collections and will have “equal responsibilities for creative input and decision-making.” The appointment was made public on Sunday, February 23, the last day of Milan Fashion Week, during a press conference held at the Italian fashion giant’s headquarters.

The unique partnership is making waves in the fashion industry. While collaborations abound they are usually not between two founders of luxury labels and are typically short term. Simons, who left Calvin Klein in 2018, told the New York Times that discussions with Prada had been ongoing for over a year before they agreed upon the arrangement, which was presented as an opportunity for reinvention.

At the conference, Simons said that the “fashion industry is moving more and more toward an industry that might end up excluding creatives. 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.”

In a statement issued by Prada, the company called the collaboration a “new approach to the very definition of creative direction” and a “strong challenge to the idea of singularity of creative authorship” and a “bold reinforcement of the importance and power of creativity in a shifting cultural landscape.”

Prior to his tenure at Calvin Klein—during which time he earned the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Menswear and Womenswear Designer of the Year awards in 2017 and again in 2018 for Womenswear—Simons worked for Jil Sander, which is when he first met Miuccia and her husband Patrizio Bertelli, the CEO of the Prada Group, who owned the brand at the time. He also served as artistic director at Christian Dior from 2012 to 2015 and is the head of his own eponymous label.

On joining forces with Simons, Miuccia remarked, “We like each other, we respect each other, and we’ll see if we go somewhere.” The first collection codesigned by Miuccia and Simons, who will be based in Italy and Antwerp, will be the Spring/Summer 2021 womenswear show.

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