Do Luxury Houses Need Fashion Designers?

Last weekend, Prada announced that Raf Simons will join Miuccia Prada as the artistic co-director for the entire house. Only time will show whether this will work. Simons, the sacred cow of fashion, brings with him a cache of critical acclaim but not necessarily big profits, as evidenced by his stormy tenure at Calvin Klein. It makes him an analogue to Miuccia Prada, who is widely considered to be one of fashion’s preeminent designers, despite sales figures that ebb and flow. The obvious question is whether Prada, a well-oiled luxury machine that makes a lot of its money from sporty nylon accessories, even needs a conceptual designer like Simons. Actually, it’s valid to ask whether any of the luxury fashion powerhouses, which extract the bulk of its profits from run-of-the-mill logoed product, leather goods, and perfume, require bold-name, visionary fashion designers at all. This very question began whirling in my head this past summer after I attended the first Givenchy menswear show under the auspices of Clare Waight Keller, who took the reins of the French house from Riccardo Tisci in 2017. What I saw, as one model after another walked in front of me, was a lot of great, sellable garments and very little in terms of ideas. Read more at Highsnobiety.