Around 2010, five years into his star tenure at Jil Sander, Raf Simons was talking to a member of his team who oversaw fabric sourcing and was beginning to think about how they could expand beyond their usual suppliers. What first and foremost piqued Simons’ curiosity was the possibility of using upholstery fabrics for clothing, and his colleague knew exactly who to turn to. “He brought all this Kvadrat fabric,” Simons recalled. “I think the first thing I said was, ‘Wow.'”
While Simons continued to use Kvadrat textiles for a handful of its Jil Sander collections, it wasn’t until a few years later, in 2014, that they fully reconnected. The collaboration came in part thanks to legendary British art director Peter Saville; After introducing Simons to the Danish company’s CEO, Anders Byriel, the conversation quickly turned to how they could evolve their old banter into a stronger working relationship. “Anders came to Antwerp and we discussed it, and everything was very straightforward,” says Simons. “He said, we would like to collaborate: what do you think? And I actually agreed right away at that meeting.
Over the past eight years, as Simons moved to Dior, then Calvin Klein and eventually Prada, where he is currently co-creative director, his collaborations with Kvadrat have proven to be a constant constant. While the end product – a series of fabrics that showcase Simons’ distinctive eye for color and texture – was occasionally used by Simons on the catwalk, its main application has been in upholstery or accents for furniture and interior designers. (Browse the pages of Architectural Summary Where The world of interiors, and you’ll probably have noticed how popular and versatile textiles have become.)
As of this week, Simons and Kvadrat decided to take their partnership into a new realm, with the launch of their first homeware capsule; or, as they describe it, a “concept of lifestyle accessories”. Loosely inspired by the practicality and simplicity of Shaker interiors, the system revolves around a horizontal bar (adorned with their previously developed Vidar 4 fabric and available in four tasteful shades of off-white, pink, green and black ) designed to be hung around the house as a kind of storage unit. As for what else you might want to hang there? Simons has everything you need: there are key rings, caps, tote bags and shopping bags if you want to place it in your hallway, but also throws and cushions, mirror trays and boxes of accessories, and even a leather strap to store magazines.