Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons‘ joined vision for Prada starts to unravel. It’s elusive, enigmatic and far from straightforward – and what’s most important, exciting. Autumn-winter 2021 is the second full season coming from those two brilliant fashion minds, and while the debut left many hungry for more, the latest line-up has the virtual audience in awe. Adjusting to the idea that “normal” isn’t coming back took all of us longer than it probably should have. But whatever shape the world takes when we re-emerge, there’s a collective feeling of hope that’s new. At a small press conference after the Q&A (which featured Prada lovers and collaborators like Marc Jacobs, Hunter Schafer and Rem Koolhaas) Miuccia said, “optimism is mounting.” Reason? The inevitable brightening of moods as winter ends and spring begins, or the pleasures that Prada and Simons are finding in collaboration. “It feels natural,” Simons said of their partnership. “At the same time, of course, it’s challenging, but I expected that. And I wanted it to be, otherwise I wouldn’t have come.” Together, these factors produced a collection with a tantalizing sense of glamour. It glimmered most clearly in the rectangular double-sided wraps – paillettes on one side, faux fur on the other – that models clutched to their breasts in a gesture “of protection, but also of elegance.” One such wrap was worn over a matching black paillette dress which itself was layered over the second-skin jacquard knits that appeared in many of the looks. In its endorsement of these foundational knits, the collection was a showcase for the key way the pandemic is changing fashion. Ease is the flip side of elegance: In 2021, in contrast to the past, both are integral; and women seem unlikely to sacrifice the former for the latter. “Ease and movement were very important to us,” Simons confirmed. This is a positive development, especially because Prada and Simons were able to manage it while also reigniting a fashion spark that a year of online living has otherwise made dormant. A few of the compelling ways to celebrate our reemergence here included a drop-shoulder, puff-sleeve coat in electric yellow and green, a chesterfield in midnight sequins, and a clutch coat in faux fur. It’s easy opulence, fit for our times.
“Live” collage by Edward Kanarecki.