Watching guests file into Prada’s runway theater in Milan, it’s obvious that fashion-forward men are embracing shorts, finishing them off with a variety of footwear: most often dress shoes and socks, but also futuristic sneakers, and occasionally rubber boots.
Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons are similarly enamored, devoting most of their spring show to very short leather and denim shorts, with bare legs ending in snug ankle boots with cowboy heels, the pointy toe box swooping up toward the ceiling.
Here was a Prada show with a laser focus on leggy looks, topped with Macs in kooky tablecloth checks, snug knits, crisp tunics that button up the back, or a sleeveless leather top. There was also a healthy helping of black suits, broad at the shoulders and tapering down.
The show unfurled amid a cheerful representation of a suburban house: white paper walls with giant windows carved out and framed by tall checkered paper curtains. Guests including Jeff Goldblum, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rami Malek, Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union sat on cardboard cubes to take in the fashion display.
It lacked the thrill and surprise of previous Prada outings, since many of the ideas proposed and repeated on the catwalk — especially checks and short shorts — have already been widely adopted by the fashion pack.
Still, it’s always interesting to see what two of fashion’s deepest thinkers consider what is right for now.
In quotes provided to the media just ahead of the show, Prada said the collection “was about clothes that people could really wear, but with an impact.
“There are hundreds of coats, why is this the right one?” she asked. “It’s a combination of a long process of design and decision, and then of instinct. It’s a matter of style.”
Simons echoed that he was also attracted to “the idea of ‘normal’ clothing” that is transformed through “different materializations” and via mixing classic garments in new configurations. “There’s a kind of anti-logic to the combination of the clothes, an oddness,” he added.
Indeed, it takes some guts to wear brief leather shorts with two zippers pointing up from the pelvis, and even more guts to top it with an open raincoat, hands thrust into the pockets and emphasizing its trapeze shape. Prada’s Macs and Harrington jackets had noticeably full sleeves, while leather bombers fit snugly.
The designers stripped collars off of jean jackets and raincoats, and lapels off of some tailoring, but this didn’t spark many runway fireworks. In the end, most of the zing came from the offbeat tunics in Prada’s signature “ugly” prints, and a bounty of cute sweaters with cheerful stripes or blocking of Mondrian colors. You don’t need good legs to wear those.