Prada loves artists – it built a whole foundation full of their work, remember? There’s also the illustrations that have been used within collections themselves, like James Jean’s fantastical fairies for SS08 that were revived for the Resort 2018 collection. Most recently though, Jean’s dystopian work made up part of the set for the men’s SS18 show. Today, the Italian house presented its womenswear equivalent and while the space was transformed once again with comic-looking illustrations, it was the work of nine female artists who were this time spotlighted – each of whom empower women through their work.
Here, we look into the gang whose work made up both the impressive showspace and filtered into the collection too.
London-based Brigid Elva studied at Camberwell College of Arts and works on a number of zines and comics as well as being featured in the New York Times. Her work often features alternative figures of beauty, almost like an anti-Barbie and is accompanied by political poetry. Illustrations from her zine HEX: Artist as Witch appeared in the show space, mainly one girl with a pixie cut and thick brows.
Giuliana Maldini is a Milan-based artist who made history by being the first female to publish a book of cartoons on the female condition all the way back in 1978. Among the sculptures, paintings and children's books she created over the years, her comics often portray strong women destroying the patriarchy. You’ll probably need a good translator to fully enjoy her work though…
LA-based Jones has contributed to some of the largest contemporary comic companies over her career – think Marvel and DC. Her most celebrated and original series is Lady Killer, which features exactly what you might imagine – murderous 50s-esque women with blood splattered over their pearls.
Trina Robbins is another groundbreaking figure within the group. Drawing comics since the 60s, she was the first female to ever draw for a Wonder Woman comic. In the 70s she worked for an underground feminist newspaper which she later transformed into the first all-female comic. Arguably one of the most celebrated female comic artists, Robbins has written a book exploring the history of female cartoonists. Basically, only girls allowed.
Spanish-born Ríos has drawn for some of Marvel’s most noted comics like Doctor Strange and The Amazing Spider-Man but she also works on books and magazines too, as well as taking inspiration from architecture. And if that weren’t enough, she is also a fencer. Perhaps the pen isn’t mightier than the sword after all. She contributed an image of a tattooed girl, headphones in, and staring intently at a book to the set.
Tarpé Mills sadly passed in 1988 after a career making comics for over 50 years. She purposely used a sexually-ambiguous name so readers wouldn’t know her gender as there were next to no female comic artists. Her most famous work is the creation of Miss Fury – the first female comic hero created by a woman – no relation to AnOther’s editor Alexander Fury as far as we are aware…
Manga artist Natsume Ono has been working on comics for 40 years. Although born in Japan, she lived in Milan for a while and her work is often set there, making her the perfect addition at the Prada venue. Her varied work means that one minute she’s creating a historic drama and the next it’s a gay romance.
Canadian artist Fiona Staples uses a mixture of hand-drawn and digital techniques in her work. Inspired by books like C.S Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, her work for the Saga comic book series is among the most notable and her first ever published work was created as part of a 24-hours comic series in which the illustrators had only a day to complete their issues.