During a press conference held yesterday during Milan Fashion Week, Prada announced that Raf Simons would be joining the Italian fashion house to become co-creative directors with Miuccia Prada, who has overseen the womenswear, menswear, and Miu Miu diffusion line since the late-'70s.
Raf, who previously held a seat at Jil Sander, Christian Dior, and Calvin Klein until December of 2018 when he unexpectedly left the brand, will be starting at Prada come April. According to the press release, Raf will share “equal responsibilities for creative input and decision-making” with Miuccia.
“I like working, and I’m very excited and this will bring new wind,” she said with a smile when asked about whether Raf’s appointment signals anything about her retirement, according to WWD. "Please don’t make me older than I am."
According to The New York Times, the decision to collaborate has been in the works for over a year as an answer to the industry’s changing landscape, as a tough market has forced business decisions to usurp creative freedom, limiting what designers can do. “This is 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,” stated the press release. As a longtime leader in fashion, Prada has weathered this volatility by routinely betting on innovation and newness, while simultaneously staying true to the tradition of the label as envisioned by Miuccia, who grew her family brand into the household name that it is today.
Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada have a long-standing relationship, one that started when Prada hired Raf to head Jil Sanders, then owned by Prada Group. When the brand was purchased by private equity firm Change Capital Partners LLP in 2006, the two remained in touch. Simons has on multiple occasions attended Prada presentations, once for the spring ‘17 menswear show, and again for its resort ‘19 event in New York. “We like each other, we respect each other,” Prada said of her and Simons during the conference.
The duo’s first collection as co-creative directors will be held this September during spring ‘21 Milan Fashion Week.