Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons Spring-Summer 2023 Review
Two years ago, Raf Simons joined Prada as co-creative director alongside Miuccia Prada, who goes by the same title. They share responsibilities and design the men’s and women’s collections together. It was an unconventional but well-received arrangement that provided a new vision for the collaboration.
Their work together over the past few seasons has felt like a true meeting of minds, with references from previous Simons and Prada collections appearing in new ways. They are also aligned with how they believe a fashion brand should operate with collections that offer societal feedback and artist partnerships that broaden the perspective of the brand. Prada Linea Rossa, its technical sportswear line, recently teamed up with Damien Hirst’s son Cassius Hirst to produce a limited-edition collection of reimagined America’s Cup sneakers. And they’re working with artist Theaster Gates on a program that helps black designers (some of them sat in the front row of the show).
The partnership seems to be working. Prada reported total net sales of $3.68 billion for fiscal year 2021, an increase of 41% over 2020 and 8% over 2019. Prada has successfully combined thoughtful design with success commercial.
This fusion between the thoughtful and the commercial was prominent in the Spring/Summer 2023 men’s collection, titled Prada Choices. Simons uses youth culture as a springboard for its collections, while Prada has spent its career providing alternatives to the imagery and aesthetics that are generally praised in fashion (youth, beauty, etc.). But both designers think cinematically, creating spaces and characters to help translate their vision.
The invitation to the show was either a gingham shirt or a paper trench coat that immediately evoked a childlike energy that was also felt at the Prada Foundation show venue, a multi-room space designed to look like a house simulated entirely in raw edge. paper and accented by long gingham curtains and a floor covered with strips of brown paper.
The collection has been reduced. Ms Prada and Simons called it “an expression of organized processes” in the post-show release, adding that the line is an expression of the design process, which involves complex decision-making even with simple results. The focus was on wardrobe staples like the suit, which was slim; faded denim, which was also close-fitting (and included cropped shorts); and leather jackets and shorts with zipper details. The line is accentuated by gingham jackets, which give a new context to the pieces, and striped knits. Each look was paired with a black curvy cowboy boot or a black sneaker covered in a pop of color.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the state of the world affects what we wear, whether we notice it or not. And as we return to “normal” life, the paradox of choice can be difficult when considering getting dressed. But with this collection, Prada and Simons help us by offering their simplest proposal.