Prada: Marching to its own seriously strong beat
It felt one was back among grown-ups at the Prada menswear show, so exact was the tailoring, so savvy the urban uniforms, so clever the proportions in a first-rate display on a wet Sunday in Milan.
Rarely has the duo of Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons seemed so much in synch as they did today, where the arty polish of the Italian blended perfectly with the urban rebel attitude of the Belgian.
Opening with a series of gently voluminous suits with sculpted sleeves that felt like the most modern in Milan, all worn with hefty brothel creepers topped by welted uppers. Often worn with knits or shirts with huge, pointed collars, or sometimes with just the shirt collar; a styling trick sure to spark a very insider trend.
Prada’s triangular logo branding continues at pace – even suits which had matching fabric triangles just below the nape of the neck. Fortunately, no monogram Prada print so far. When that happens, we will know a chapter has closed. And darkly.
Crombies with brothel creepers followed, echoing the natty Suedehead subculture of sixties UK.
Elegant volume continued in a series of rawhide suede looks – blazers, jackets, redingotes and even sheathes in shades of tobacco and cognac.
Before, suddenly, the mood changed gear, playing on cocoon flight jackets, in khaki and white – the very ideas on which Raf first built his early reputation. Albeit, taken to an even more extreme silhouette. And paired with very Prada nylon sky pants.
“We were thinking what means reality, which brought us back not to minimalism but a certain type of calm. When you think minimal in terms of clothes and the environment, it is often perceived as cold and distant. What we really wanted to do was the opposite, to create the idea of comfort, warm, human and the body. Contrasting these two things. That’s why in the minimal tailoring there are gestures and fragments of what we perceive to be Prada, through many decades. That could be a collar, or a knit or a fragment of print. Constantly trying to create an imbalance,” Raf explained quietly, in his familiar circular logic, post-show.
The duo’s finest moment played on military duffle coats and parkas, though cut pencil thin and finished at the ankles. Ideal for a dank day, like Saturday. Though the bad weather didn’t prevent yet another huge crowd of fans gathering outside the Fondazione Prada, squealing in ecstasy as K-pop heroes entered the show space.
“Miuccia and I are always interested in the idea of a uniform. But not uniforms that are related to aggression. So not army or police, but workers. Like the suede apron in cognac, that are not aprons,” he chuckled.
Guests going inside to discover the brand’s main show space for once displayed raw, devoid of any decoration and with its orange girders exposed. Along with a regiment of influencers. One assumes their presence helps sales. But the site of Prada, the pre-eminent intellectual fashion brand, bowing and scraping to social media waifs, felt rather sad.
At first, the cast marched under a low ceiling, barely three meters above the audience, which rose slowly to reveal huge modernist tubular chandeliers, before descending at the finale like a claustrophobic surrealist dream.
“Going from grandeur to intimacy, but not warm and cosy intimacy. In fact, I was impressed myself that they were able to pull this stunt off,” marvelled Simons, as he peeked up at the roof barely above his head.
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