Prada takes a leap, with a jump­suit that nods to the 90s

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Han­nah Mar­riott Fash­ion edi­tor Un­ex­pected com­bi­na­tions and tricks made Prada’s new menswear col­lec­tion sub­ver­sive Pho­to­graphs: Luca Bruno/AP

As a de­signer, Mi­uc­cia Prada is noth­ing if not for­ward think­ing. It was she who spawned so many trends, from the “it” bag phe­nom­e­non – the ori­gins of which can be traced back to Prada’s 1980s hit ny­lon back­pack – to the post-mod­ern pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with “ugly-pretty” de­signs such as art­fully wrin­kled tights and socks with san­dals. But while Prada’s abil­ity to pre­dict trends could not be any stronger, prof­its have waned in re­cent years, a sit­u­a­tion cre­ated in part – so the an­a­lysts say – be­cause the re­tail arm has been slow to em­brace moder­nity.

Last night’s menswear show in Mi­lan, then, was a good time to demon­strate her un­der­stand­ing of the most con­tem­po­rary of sub­jects: vir­tual re­al­ity. Or, as she put it back­stage, the fact that we all now oc­cupy “a dou­ble world, be­tween vir­tual re­al­ity on one side and re­al­ity on the other. Her re­ac­tion to this was to cre­ate a col­lec­tion rooted in the ba­sics of clothes – how they touch and re­act to the body. It was, “the op­po­site of vir­tual re­al­ity, hand­made, sim­ple.” Noth­ing is ever straight­for­ward in Prada’s world, how­ever, and her col­lec­tion was not home­spun in the ob­vi­ous sense. If any­thing, her mod­els looked like tech­ni­cians in the world’s most stylish space sta­tion, stalk­ing the cat­walk in ny­lon jump­suits (“my new ob­ses­sion”) and in cuffed sporty trousers in shades of pep­per­mint and navy.

Shirts were dec­o­rated with frag­ments from a dis­turb­ing car­toon­ish graphic that was also painted on the walls of the hangar-like show space. Un­ex­pected styling tricks and colour com­bi­na­tions made sim­ple sil­hou­ettes slightly sub­ver­sive: boiler suits were un­zipped to dis­play white and blue shirts; grey and black striped cardi­gans were lay­ered over pink and navy striped jumpers.

There were plenty of the sort of rel­a­tively ac­ces­si­bly-priced ac­ces­sories that might help Prada reach the fash­ion­cu­ri­ous mil­len­nial cus­tomer: jazzy socks pulled up high, large bum­bags on hips and hard-edged sun­glasses with blue fade lenses that felt like an early 90s vi­sion of the fu­ture.

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