In the midst of these trying times, Minnie Muse sat down for a Skype interview with Luca Simons, the 4-ish-year-old Beauceron belonging to Belgium designer Raf Simons. Despite her lack of lengthy walks and outdoor playtime as a result of social isolation, Luca was eager to chat, sequestered at home in Antwerp. Given last month’s announcement that Raf Simons is joining Prada as co-creative director, we were eager to discuss Luca’s view on the new appointment, whether she is excited to move to Milan, which piece of mid-century furniture in her father’s collection is her preferred makeshift bed, and what it was like being brought up in the Calvin Klein atelier. See highlights from our latest designer dog interview below...
Owner: Raf Simons
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Minnie Muse: Luca, Hi! Can you hear me?
Luca Simons: Hi, yes, I can hear you just fine.
MM: Great! It is such a pleasure to connnect. Thank you for taking the time to Skype with me, I am sorry we couldn’t meet in person.
LS: Nice to meet you, too – virtually. I am sorry as well, but I have nothing but time lately. Life in quarantine is much less hectic than what I am used to.
MM: Tell me about it… Where are you spending your days in isolation?
LS: We are in Belgium, at vader’s [father’s] home in Antwerp.
MM: That sounds like the perfect place to be. How is everything going?
LS: Everythign is fine, for the most part. I am going on fewer walks than normal, but happy to be able to spend more time with Vader, and thankful we are both healthy and comfortable.
MM: Tell me about your home in Antwerp…
LS: We live in a two-story, mid-century modernist apartment with an open-floor-plan that allows for plenty of room to run around and play. Vader adopted me after leaving Dior in 2016, so I spent most of my early years in New York City, but Antwerp has always felt like home.
MM: Where are you seated now surrounded by such beautiful furniture?
LS: I am in our living room on Vader’s favorite sofa by Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret. We also have matching chairs, as well as a Noguchi coffee table and a wooden bench by George Nakashima, which is the furthest thing from comfortable…
MM: Is that where you spend most of your time? Where is your favorite place to relax?
LS: Yes, either here or in the study, where we have a set of Polar Bear chairs by Jean Royère covered in the most beautiful cherry red mohair, and a Noguchi Freeform Sofa upholstered in one of vader’s textile designs for Kvadrat. But I also love to cuddle in my dog bed…
MM: It sounds like you share your father’s love of furniture and knack for textiles… I presume your dog bed is also something noteworthy? Mid-century, perhaps?
LS: It was actually a gift from vader for my first birthday. At the time, we were living in New York City and he was working closely with LA-based artist Sterling Ruby on his rebranding of Calvin Klein. He had Sterling design me a custom dog bed that I still use today. The patchwork cusion is covered in paint splatter prints similar to ones he created for vader’s Fall/Winter 2014 Menswear collection, while the bed’s ceramic frame is based on Sterling’s ‘Basin Theology’ series.
MM: Wow, can we take a peek at it?
LS: Another time… I need help carrying it and vader is on a work call in his office with Mrs. Prada, so I can’t interrupt him to bring it down.
MM: Fair enough… Are you excited about his new job? Co-creative director of Prada is quite a position.
LS: I am very excited. I have known about it for quite some time but had to sign an NDA and was under strict instructions to not disscuss anything until it was announced. I think it is a perfect match! Vader and Miuccia are two peas in a pod and I know he has missed designing womenswear ever since leaving Calvin Klein over a year ago.
MM: We have also missed him dearly! Looking back at his collections, do you have any favorites? Are you familiar with his work for Jil Sander and Christian Dior?
LS: Absolutely, vader’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection for Jil Sander is one of my all-time favorites, as well as his first couture collection [Fall/Winter 2012] for the House of Dior. I am also quite fond of his Fall/Winter 2017 show for Calvin Klein; seeing that collection come together is one of my earliest and fondest memories – getting to experience vader’s genius firsthand.
MM: Has he designed anything special for you? A sweater or jacket, perhaps?
LS: Absolutely. During his days at Calvin he would always have the atelier make me canine versions of specific pieces from the collections. I have a color-blocked suit from Spring/Summer 2018, a sanitation jacket and a handful of chunky sweaters from Fall/Winter 2018, and a cheetah print dress from Spring/Summer 2019, which I wear on special occasions.
MM: Do you miss your days at the studio?
LS: Yes, dearly. I miss the friends I made at the office, and having people to play with and take me on walks. I also had heaps of toys and loved playing with the Sterling Ruby yarn balls sprinkled around the showroom. I hope everyone at Prada is as welcoming as they were at Calvin...
MM: Who is your favorite fashion world dog walker?
LS: Definitely my god-vader, Pieter Mulier. Pieter was vader’s longstanding right-hand – they worked together for almost two decades – and since I entered the picture, he became a sort of ‘right-paw’ for me, as well. He won’t be joining us at Prada – yet – but they still remain close and I love him dearly. He even gifted me a metal and grosgrain ribbon choker from he and vader’s final collection [Spring/Summer 2016] for Dior. I still wear it everyday!
MM: It sounds like you have quite a closet… What are some of your other go-to accessories?
LS: I have a pair of fusion sneaker-heels from vader’s Fall/Winter 2014 collection for Dior that I love, but haven’t had a chance to wear them in a while. Occasionally I’ll put them on to walk around the house, but lately you’ll find me in my Calvin Klein JAWS t-shirt from Spring/Summer 2019, which also happens to be one of my favorite films.
MM: Do you like watching movies? What are some of your other favorites?
LS: I love watching movies, which is something we’ve been doing a lot of recently while in quarantine. Vader finds a great deal of inspiration in cinema, from classic American movies like JAWS, to more avant-garde, indie films like Christiane F. I am quite partial, however, to the 2014 documentary Dior and I, which follows vader in the days and weeks leading up to his first [Fall/Winter 2012] Dior couture show. Having not been there myself, the film is how I first fell in love with the collection.
MM: How else do you like to spend your free time?
LS: Usually we are not such homebodies. We love visiting museums, galleries, and artists’ studios. It is no secret that vader loves art, and he has taught me a great deal in our time together.
MM: Who are some of your favorite artists? Do live with a lot of art at home?
LS: We love Andy Warhol, as you know from vader’s days at Dior and Calvin Klein, as well as American painter George Condo and Canadian artist Steven Shearer. We have a number of works here in Antwerp by Mike Kelley and a sculpture by Evan Holloway, as well as ceramics by Georges Jouve and Pol Chambosts, and of course, Sterling Ruby.
MM: Are you ever tempted to play with any of the art at home?
LS: Not as much as you might think. I have a few toys that vader bought me on his travels because they reminded him of Mike Kelley’s bear photographs, but that’s as close as I get to touching the art. Although, on special occasssions I have been known to eat meals out of my favorite ceramics, so long as I am extra careful.
MM: Lucky you. Do you have a favorite cuisine?
LS: I love Italian. Pasta is of course is my ultimate cheat meal, which is why I am most excited to move to Milan… Speaking of, dinner has been served. Do you have what you need?
MM: Yes, more than enough, thank you! Bon appétit!
LS: Dank je!