Raf Simons joins Prada as co-creative director

Raf Simons Prada
Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons

Prada Group has announced that Belgian designer Raf Simons will join as co-creative director of the Prada brand working in partnership with Miuccia Prada “with equal responsibilities for creative input and decision-making”.

Simons, formerly global creative chief at Calvin Klein, will join the Italian luxury house on 2 April and the first joint Miuccia Prada/Simons collection will be presented at Milan Fashion Week in September for SS21.

The announcement confirms long-standing rumours that Simons was joining the label and the appointment came about after “a mutual decision, proposed and determined by both parties”.

It brings together two of the most influential designers working today. Simons, known for his pared-back, exacting aesthetic, has headed up brands such as Jil Sander, Christian Dior and Calvin Klein, as well as his own label. At the latter he was in post for just two years before leaving in December 2018 after the American brand revealed his bid to take the label up-market had not resulted in increased sales.

He would appear a better match for Prada but the unusual move of having two creative powerhouses at the top of a brand is untested, however Prada said in its statement that the move was “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”.

At a press conference in Milan, where Fashion Week is taking place, Miuccia Prada, who is 70 and took control of the business from her father in 1978, revealed that there was no end date to the contract with Simons and she was not planning on standing down any time soon. “I like working and I look forward to working more – don’t make me older than I am. Sincerely, I think I will have to work more,” she said.

Patrizio Bertelli, husband of Miuccia Prada, and the CEO of the group added: “The Prada Group has proven good at being at the forefront of change. We want to work with a specific identity and rationale and share our views with others. It’s for people who have a keen sense of aesthetic – people who are not selfish and ego-centered, this is the way to work together.”