As Miuccia Prada told the editors after her autumn-winter 2018 fashion show, she wishes “for the strength of women going out in the violence. My dream is for women to be able to go out in the street and not be afraid. I wanted to have the freedom exaggerated.” Indeed, staged in the still unfinished tower extension of the Fondazione Prada, the venue’s mood (lit with neon signs) felt powerfully cosmopolitan. The colours of the collection’s sequined mini-dresses, Pocono-nylon track pants, rubber boots and corporate jackets were equally joyous. While Prada continues to remix her archives (the brand’s fan will notice many, many references to her past collections…), she keeps it feminine this time around with tulle shawls wrapped around the neck. Utilitarian, but soft. Intelligent.
Identity is what Miuccia Prada considers and rethinks the most this season. Well, a house like Prada can boast with a huge number of ‘codes’. But one of the most distinct is the “Pocone” nylon (a modified material that was previously used in packaging industry), which was introduced by her back in 1984 as a line of bags. They were best-sellers in the 80s, and they seem to be hitting the stores by storm with similar success in 2018, noting the current customer tendency for everything that’s nostalgic. This specific nylon was the key material in the opening, all-black looks. From pillow-y coats to bucket hats, it’s a conversation between utility and contemporary dressing. Not only was “Pocone” a Prada reference in this Prada show. Prada’s now-closed sister line, Prada Sport, made a catchy comeback as zippers and labels in signature, bold red. Also, note the prints – feeling a déjà vu? Monkeys, lipsticks, flames, bananas, Hawaii florals, beaches… those are all prints from past collections, remixed and re-matched. Models wore ID tags featuring cutout Polaroid head shots clipped to their clothes or bags – that brought a exaggerated, corporate feeling that perfectly matched the very industrial venue, so the “Prada Warehouse” of its Fondazione on the outskirts of Milan. A bit elegant, a bit geek – that’s what men’s autumn-winter and women’s pre-fall 2018 really is about, with a dose of Miuccia’s sophistication.
While at her main line in Milan, Miuccia Prada discussed real heroines and the female gaze through comic-like prints, in Paris she sparked the 80s / 90s teen spirit. Ballerina-length lace dresses, checked lumberjack shirts and college sweaters were like the thrift-shop finds of rebellious students, who are about to spend a night playing in their garage band. But a bit more prettier. That’s precisely something a true Miu Miu girl will fall in love with the next season. I also liked the grunge / prairie girl contrast. But the overall effect is not too sophisticated and rather goes back to Miu Miu’s original roots: those are clothes for a younger audience. What really felt like a ‘moment’ this season was the perfectly balanced model casting: over half of the models were non-Caucasian, which tells one simple thing: yes, it’s possible, fashion industry. Please, take notes from Anita Bitton, the brand’s casting director.
That wasn’t a fictional story of one specific superwoman, but an entire cast of heroines, who walked in Miuccia Prada‘s spring-summer 2018 fashion show. For the last few seasons, Prada is keen on portraying different types of women she wholeheartedly admires and respects. And this season, it was a full-celebration of women, who not necessarily have the wallets that afford Prada price-tags. Not only was the styling accessible – hand-printed coats with safety-pins attached (a funky-punky touch), thrift-store glasses or jacquard dresses worn over masculine shirt – but also the venue had a lot to say to women of all walks of life. The Prada show space featured art by a selection of female graphic artists – Brigid Elva, Joëlle Jones, Stellar Leuna, Giuliana Maldini, Natsume Ono, Emma Rios, Trina Robbins and Fiona Staples – and with the archive of Tarpé Mills, creator of the first female action hero. The comic-style mural presented different aspects of womanhood just as precisely as Miuccia’s new season clothes. From utilitarian nylon vests to collage-themed lady-like dresses, it was all about choices, choices and choices. The soundtrack, which changed its tune nearly every minute, had such unlikely and unexpected musical obsessions like Lana Del Rey, The Cure or Suzanne Vega. Even that aspect perfectly synchronised with the idea of an ever-changing mood – something Mrs. Prada can definitely admit in her aesthetic sense.