James Jean, the graphic illustrator behind Prada’s SS18 Menswear show set – and the creator of a limited edition HERO 18 cover – is taking his relationship with the Italian fashion house one step further.
Real Life Comix, a brand new campaign for SS18 created by Jean and his collaborator, Belgian illustrator Ollie Schrauwen, recreates images from real life and graphic novels that inspired SS18.
The Willy Vanderperre-shot project contains imagery that decorated Prada‘s showspace and collection back in June last year. The equivalent of stepping inside a giant comic strip, the SS18 space featured floor-to-ceiling illustrations by Jean. An immersive world, robot monkeys fired laser beams, bleak suburban streets sat in symmetrical rows and giant eyes watched the audience’s every move. This dystopian world translated from catwalk to clothing, as Miuccia Prada explored the ever-thinnking line between physical reality and virtual reality.
“[Prada] liked the concept of repeating images, of isolated moments within the framework of a comic book page,” Jean explained to us in an exclusive interview inside HERO 18. “The rhythm and limited palette of the imagery was pretty clearly established from their reference material, however, the specific imagery and narrative was was left up to me to create.”
On his work being reimagined as a fashion showspace Jean said, “They actually kept it as a surprise – I had an inkling that the work would be applied to the environment, but they pulled it off brilliantly and on such a grand scale. I especially liked how they used black tape to delineate the corner and edge of each surface to mimic comic panels.”
Watch the film and catch a glimpse of the new batch of imagery featuring Simon Bornhall, Benno Bulang, Lenny Diaw, Daan Duez, Ko Hei and Ihor Liubchenko via prada.com.
Get your hands on James Jean’s limited edition HERO18 issue here.