This season, Prada was about contrasts, which actually create an equilibrum. “We can be strong and feminine at the same time… women carry the weight now.” Miuccia Prada was insistent: delicacy and frivolity are not antithetical to power. Finally somebody said that out loud, in the language of fashion. Beads, silks, fringes, the “clichés of femininity,” as she described them, accompanied pieces traditionally considered masculine. A boxy belted jacket was paired with a fringed skirt, while classic bib-front shirts were glammed up with skeins of crystals suspended from the shoulders. Basketball jerseys got a similar treatment, elongated to the knee and then accessorized with ropes of beads and sneaker-boot hybrids. For Prada-ists, this collection is a great retrospective of some of Miuccia’s big hits – especially autumn-winter 2017, autumn-winter 2015, spring-summer 2014 and autumn-winter 2009 – which were patchworked into something new. Prada’s vocabulary is so wide and distinct that there’s no wonder why she is bringing some ideas back to her work.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
“Let me say what’s the point of this show,” Miuccia Prada started backstage of her Prada autumn-winter 2020 men’s show: “That in the big – not ‘confusion’- but the complication of the current time between the world going wrong or going better, the discussion on sexes, on surviving or not… I thought to give an indication that the only thing that makes me calm and optimistic is to give value to work… to give value to things that matter in your life and your work. And so the creativity is mixed with technicalities, which is a little bit similar to the Secessionist period (boldly colored graphics shared with the fabric patterns associated with Koloman Moser and other artists of the Vienna Secession) when ideas, creativity, and actual work had to be all together.” And what about the rather anti-heroic, equestrian statue, was this also about the contemporary heroism? “Not heroic, but heroes… I want to give a hope that in this casino (‘chaotic world’) if you do well your job, paired with intelligence, and with culture, then this already is something… It’s to give respect to work, to effort, to fatigue, and to what is difficult.” So here’s some forever-intelligent Prada-ism to delight in. On the set that closely resembled one of Giorgio de Chirico’s metaphysical paintings, Miuccia presented earnest, simple, smart and easy-in-approach clothes that are both classic and modern. Three-piece suits or mismatched tailored separates, portfolios thrust between arm and hip. Rural worker in mid-calf boots and oversized corduroy jacket. Then a more urban kind of Prada man whose clothes have technical touches and piped sport raised graphics on pocket flaps. Scientist-like rubberized coats matched with baggy pants tucked into beaten leather galvanized sole boots (plus rectangular lensed shades). Different characters, different personalities. Yet not so dramatically different clothes.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
When in Milan, Prada, the word, the universe, takes a whole another dimension. It’s not just Miuccia Prada’s sophisticated, multi-faceted fashion, but also art. And sweets. Here you can choose between various Prada delights. Maybe the embellished red heels available at the label’s oldest flagship in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II? Or the delicious donuts filled with vanilla cream… or the pastel-pink marzipan cake from the brand-owned Marchesi 1824 patisserie on Via Monte Napoleone? Hard to resist any of that.
Prada / Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II 63-65
Marchesi 1824 / Via Monte Napoleon 9
All photos by Edward Kanarecki.
Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.
Prada, Prada, Prada!
Miuccia Prada is certainly one of the most influential fashion designers of our time. Her fashion isn’t just fashion: it’s an on-going dialogue between art, society, culture, and at times even politics. Her Prada woman and man jump from being decadently eccentric to modernly elegant; they can be vagabond, they can be sophisticated, they can be bold in their neon nylons and printed banana shirts (so Jeff Goldblum!). In her 2010s collections, Prada turned her talent to the reivention of a more conventional expression of beauty, striving to modernize embellishment, taking fabrication and surface detail to unprecedented heights, fusing plastic with precious silks, showing cable knit alongside cable knit prints and cable knit embroideries, imagining and then realizing her own spectacular brocades offset by humble cottons borrowed from menswear. Nearly each collection Prada presented in this decade is iconic – and can be recalled by coining separate themes or words (Madame Frankenstein, Japan, pin-up girl, film noir, Margot Tenenbaum, sailors, pastels, stripes, The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant…the list goes on!). Noting other successes of Prada in the 2010s – like Fondazione Prada in Milan, re-opening the Linea Rossa line, the non-stop growth of Miu Miu’s allure – I really can’t wait to see how Miuccia shapes her 2020s…
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.