In a Milan men’s season light on fashion thrills, leave it to Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons to raise the roof.
Cheers erupted at the conclusion of their fantastic show on Sunday, which featured an austere collection spilling out from a simple door frame under a galvanized steel ceiling that slowly lifted to reveal Art Deco chandeliers.
The way the runway theater transmuted “echoes the garments themselves, elongated or abbreviated,” according to the show notes, which only made sense after seeing the clothes.
“Reductionist tailoring, graphic shards of print and knit, laid bare on skin.” Translation: Pointy collars and snippets of sweater buttoned into jackets or cardigans like newfangled dickies, leaving chests bare.
Like all Prada shows, it was repetitive. Still, it was difficult to find fault with the peerless tailoring, youthful in the boxiness of the jackets played against slim and tapered pants with permanent creases front and back.
The outerwear was sensational: woolen topcoats, classic to the core except for four white horizontal zips — or vivid taping along the sleeves and yoke — giving them visual zing; squarish or slim suede jackets and tunics in the deepest navy or the yummiest caramel color, and military bombers reduced to a puff of green or navy satin, the orange lining the only detail.
Here was the pinnacle of minimalist design: A white puffer jacket with no channels that resembled the pillow that served as the show invitation, right down to the duvet loops strapped to the corner.
Hooded toggle coats either ended just past the navel or stretched down past the knee, hovering over the chunky loafers that finished off every look.
Save for a few of those pointy collars, this was an entirely print-free collection, leaving the floor to the precision shapes and such mouthwatering color combinations as pale lemon and jade, camel and orange, or mauve and chocolate brown.
The show had an electricity that was rare this week, with thousands of screaming tweens outside keen to catch a glimpse of South Korean boy band Enhypen. Its seven members joined the backstage melee and presented Prada with gifts purchased at 10 Corso Como and then orchestrated a photo op with her and Simons.
The co-creative directors were not giving interviews backstage, but their provided quotes were revealing, suggesting that back-to-basics may be the best way forward in turbulent times, and that the obvious branding that has defined — some might say blemished — Prada in recent seasons may be ebbing.
“The most honest thing we can do is to create something useful for people today — to face reality and frame the idea of our reality through clothes,” Prada stated.
Simons said the collection was built on “archetypal clothing” changed through silhouette and cut. “It is also about the DNA of Prada, clothes embedded with fragments of an identity we can recognize as fundamentally Prada,” he added.