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