Having long since elevated black nylon to the realm of high fashion, Miuccia Prada is now narrowing the gap between art and design, both with the opening of the Prada Foundation in the brand’s home city of Milan and by continuing her creative relationship with a number of fine artists. Hence, the reintroduction of Taiwanese-born LA-based artist James Jean, a former DC Comics illustrator who designed a mural for Prada’s Epicenter store in New York in 2007.
Jean is responsible for this season’s collection of men’s bags – all, to a greater or lesser extent, transformed by his trademark storytelling. Harnessing the stop-start narrative of the graphic novel, Jean’s vivid illustrations work wonderfully on the designer’s signature black leather. Elsewhere, JW Anderson includes quirky signage on his totes, while Fendi continues to toy with its leather accessories via a hidden inlay panel with cartoon imagery poking out the top. Child’s play never looked so elegant.
Keeping up with the Jones
Kim Jones, the British designer who stepped down from his post as artistic director of men’s ready-to-wear at Louis Vuitton in January, was the maison’s very own ‘triple threat’. He combined LV’s heritage in travel (his wanderlust informed everything from Keepall bags to keychains) with his own street cred (last year’s collaboration with Supreme was a knockout) and an abiding interest in art and design – as demonstrated by projects with the Chapman brothers and the work of the late Christopher Nemeth. Flanked by close friends Kate and Naomi on his final walk in Paris, his departure was as evocative as the collection. The clothes over-printed with aerial shots of Africa are sure to become collectors’ items.