The announcement of Raf Simons joining Miuccia Prada as co-creative director at the Italian house shook up Milan Fashion Week, but in looking back at Simons and Prada’s history, this partnership should come as no surprise. Not only have the two been friends for years–having met when Simons was creative director for Jil Sander during the time that Prada Group owned the brand–but their design aesthetics and approaches are also very similar. Prada has been at the helm of her family’s fashion house since 1988 and of Miu Miu since its inception in 1993. Meanwhile, Simons has served as creative director at Jil Sander, Christian Dior Haute Couture, and Calvin Klein, in addition to his own namesake line. While their first collection together will not debut until September, we’re already thinking of what this dynamic fashion duo will put on the runway. In order to move forward in fashion, however, we often have to look to the past, and both Simons and Prada have created historic collections with attributes that mirror each other. Here, CR looks back at some of these formative shows, and what they infer about what we can expect to see from their first Prada collection together next fall.
Their Love Of Art
Art, in all of its forms, has served as immense inspiration for both Prada and Simons throughout a number of their collections. Prada has always had a strong interest in creative outlets, and has collaborated with many artists on her collections throughout her career. This deep love of art sparked the development of Fondazione Prada, the brand’s museum which features contemporary art and hosts multiple exhibitions throughout the year. Both locations, in Milan and Venice, reinforce the Prada brand’s quest for deeper discovery and exchange of thoughts through a variety of outlets. Simons also has a significant connection with art, with one notable aspect being his many set design collaborations with artist Sterling Ruby. The collaborators turned friends have not only worked together in runway design but also store layouts. Having met when Simons commissioned Ruby to design the Japan store location for his namesake brand, the design duo have worked on a number of projects throughout Simons’ career: from the now-iconic flower walls at Simons’ first Christian Dior Haute Couture show in 2012 to designing the central store for Calvin Klein 205W39NYC while Simons was at the helm of the brand.
They Understand That Fashion Is Personal and Experimental
Both Prada and Simons understand the personal significance of fashion, which says a lot about both designers. They know that fashion to the consumer is very individual, and that experimentation should be encouraged when it comes to personal style. For Spring/Summer 2014, Prada released a collection filled with an array of artful color blocking and gem encrusted embellishments, reinforcing the house’s exploration of making the bold and gaudy, chic. This experimentation can also be seen in Simons’ Spring/Summer 2014 collection, where he challenged societal norms in menswear by sending models down the runway in variations of collared dresses in addition to t-shirt and shorts/pants combinations–a very Prada-esque design move.
They’re Always Thinking Ahead
In fashion, part of the designer’s job is to always be thinking ahead, and both Prada and Simons are perfect examples. This was shown specifically with Prada’s Fall/Winter 2011 collection, with Miuccia already thinking about sustainability by making hats out of faux fur. Likewise, Simons is one of the present-day designers who has made a significant impact on fashion trends. His Spring/Summer 2011 collection for Jil Sander featured color blocking with vibrant hues and peplum waists, which soon after this show became a major trend. This not only was a monumental shift for the Jil Sander brand, commonly known for its neutral, minimal aesthetic, but it also connected fashion with functionality for everyday people.
Innovation & Intellectualism
Over the years both designers have proven to be very innovative in their designs, often basing their collections off of concepts derived from intellectualism rather than consumer trends. For Prada’s Fall/Winter 2014 men’s show, Miuccia went completely against the brand’s usual quirky design aesthetic and took a more toned down approach. The brand not only featured womenswear pieces in the show but also presented classic menswear items, including fur-embellished vests and sleeveless overcoats, with the label’s signature, eccentric touch. Proving to be innovative in menswear design, this collection also subtly pushed the boundaries of typical men’s garments through the colors used and styling of the pieces. Keeping the theme of unique outerwear, Simons featured pieces such as a subtle floral-printed PVC overcoat and maroon patent leather thigh-high boots in his Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2015 show. This was not only a different and more modern take on couture, but it also brought a sense of relatability to the elite zeitgeist of high fashion.
They Don’t Conform & Constantly Reinvent
Both Prada and Simons are set in the idea of individuality while also respecting brand heritage, and this can be seen throughout their collections. Simons’ Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015 collection showcased his own proclivity for sharp tailoring in the body of the jacket, additionally challenging couture ideals by designing the piece with only one fur-like arm and styling a wide scarf around the model’s neck. Despite the piece’s individuality and casual nature, Simons still tied in Dior’s brand aesthetic with the jacket’s silhouette and the flowing gown underneath. Prada’s Fall/Winter 2013 collection included a new take on the brand’s classic designs as well, featuring a reinvention of its classic bowling bag (now in red and white gingham). Never one to conform, this is just one example of Miuccia Prada continuing to evolve the house’s design aesthetic of subtly avant-garde, “ugly chic” pieces.END
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createdAt:Fri, 06 Mar 2020 15:22:28 +0000