Raf Simons is back in womenswear.
The Belgian fashion designer — who's been working on his namesake menswear label since leaving Calvin Klein in late 2018 — will join Prada as co-creative director, working with Miuccia Prada to collaborate on design and decision-making.
Suspicions that Simons would be joining Prada Group were first raised following Prada's Fall 2020 men's show in Milan earlier this month when some on social media recognized traces of Simons' designs in the new collection. (Simons presented his own Fall 2020 men's collection in Paris.) The news was later confirmed by the company a few days after the brand showed its Fall 2020 womenswear collection.
"This partnership, encompassing all creative facets of the Prada label, is born from a deep reciprocal respect and from an open conversation — it is a mutual decision, proposed and determined by both parties," a press release from the brand states a. "It opens a new dialogue, between designers widely acknowledged as two of the most important and influential of today. Conceptually, it is also 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."
Simons has been on Prada Group's payroll before, technically: When he joined Jil Sander as creative director in 2005, the Italian brand was owned by the company; in 2006, Jil Sander was bought by Change Capital Partners LLP, a private equity firm. (It would be acquired by its current owner, Onward Holdings Co. Ltd., in 2008. Simons left the brand in 2012.)
Post-Jil Sander, Simons worked at Dior, from April 2012 to October 2015. (He was the subject of the 2014 documentary "Dior and I," which chronicled the preparation for Simons' first Haute Couture collection for the house.) He then became Calvin Klein's chief creative officer from August 2016 to December 2018.
Simons has maintained a relationship with Prada Group (and Ms. Prada, in particular). He went to Prada's Spring 2017 menswear show and dinner in June 2016. And in May 2018 — when he was still at Calvin Klein — the designer attended Prada's Resort 2019 event in New York. He and Ms. Prada were also put in conversation for the eight issue of System magazine.
According to a press release from the brand, the first collection under Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada's collaboration will be for Spring 2021, which will be presented in Milan in September.