Prada: The reign of the lady is officially over. Whatever doubts that may have lingered on that point were squelched definitively by Miuccia Prada, whose fall collection was as spectacularly beautiful as it was bold.
Prada put forth an audacious vision of fall’s wrapped-up, toughed-up aesthetic. Hers is overtly chic, a fascinating, almost impossibly deft fusion of refined and raw elements in which each held equal sway. She showed against Rem Koolhaus projections of jungle scenes fading in and out of various cityscapes in what seemed almost too-obvious juxtaposition: fashion for an urban jungle. But if the projection fits … And it did.
“It’s time to go back to the streets of the world, showing anger and being a little bit savage, to be ready for life,” she said after the show. If that is throwing down a fashion gauntlet of sorts, Prada devotees the world over will pounce to pick it up. The clothes, sensual in their sobriety, were rooted in Japanese, sports and medieval warrior references with no color and almost no embellishment — save for patches of rugged, uncut fur that delivered the primal punch. Almost everything was black or dark gray, with an insert or two of dark brown at the end. The looks emerged as clean, strong, uncluttered layers finished with spectacular outerwear, often a luxed-up parka or stadium coat that typically sported fur somewhere — on hoods, patch pockets, sleeves, or a skunk-like panel in back. Everything was sturdy — coats, knits, shoes, bags, even the lingerie, heavily constructed black bras worn over thick gray sweaters.
A flourish of styling, yes. But a flourish with a message in that fine line between corsetry and body armor. “I’m tired of all that passive, sweet femininity that tries to appeal to everybody,” Prada said. “We women should go back to some strength.”
Fashion has long awaited — and needed — so bold a battle cry, lest the demon boredom infiltrate its realm. With Prada leading the charge with such confidence and brilliance, it doesn’t have a chance.
This story first appeared in the February 22, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.