Recycling Beauty. Prada AW23

Finally, my heart skipped a beat for the first time this fashion month. Prada‘s autumn-winter 2023 collection – entitled “Recycling Beauty” – was a strikingly powerful take on simplicity and the idea of uniform, with a twist of much-needed optimism. Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons have reached full synthesis, as this collection takes the unmistakable Prada look to a new dimension. The white lily pin, folded origami style from humble cotton, that came with Prada’s invitation looked like hope for the future. That notion seemed to be confirmed backstage, where Miuccia and Raf talked about the act of caring. “Mainly what I care about now is to give importance to what is modest, to value modest jobs, simple jobs, and not only extreme beauty or glamour,” Prada said. Nurses’ whites got a thorough consideration, transformed into long-line shirt dresses complete with short trains, and a trio of capes could’ve been lifted off a World War II era recruitment poster for the army nurse corps. Military uniforms proved ripe for elevation by reinterpretation, too. Parkas – never seen such gracious and refined interpretation of this type of jacket – came with elegant Watteau backs or were puffed into couture-like cocoons. Army shirts and ties tucked into high-fitting tapered trousers looked definitive; the pants are apt to make women who’ve embraced the full-leg shape on so many other runways seriously rethink their closets. On the skirt front, there was much more variety: minis, pencils, and voluminous swing 1950s skirts all made appearances, some accentuated with more of those origami fabric flowers. This was the flipside of the concept, Simons explained backstage: turning the embellishments you see on wedding dresses, which are another sort of uniform of care, into everyday attire. The simple crewneck sweaters in camel and charcoal gray they were paired with were effective partners in that regard. The shirtless blazers with detachable dickey-style collars and the pillowy white down-stuffed puffers and miniskirts were evolutions of ideas they proposed in their menswear show a month ago. There too the project was to enhance reality, rather than to indulge in runway theatrics. This persuasive, deeply moving collection provided much food for thought, and a heaping serving of new things to want to wear.

Collages by Edward Kanarecki.
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