Some designers are very straight forward and simple about their runway shows; they let the clothes do the talking. Some designers spend a tremendous amount of money on top-name models. Others put on extravagant light shows or have live music. What does Miuccia Prada do? Truck in several tons of purple sand, dump it on a rust colored carpet, and let those watching figure out the rest. A walk on the moon was what she had in mind. Good thing someone eventually told us or I’m afraid the larger portion of those watching would have missed it.
As with so many other collections this season, especially here in Milan, there is a 1970s vibe to this spring/summer collection. However, rather than explore the breadth of that era, Ms. Prada centers on one aspect, patchwork, and sticks with it through the entire collection. Starting with pieces of carefully stitched brown leather, there were times I had to look more than once to determine whether it was another coat (there were several) or a coat-inspired dress we were seeing. Most, though certainly not all, of the collection stays on the darker side of earth tones which, against the rather dark purple moon setting, made it difficult at times to discern much of the detailing that is most certainly present in the collection.
Hem lines stay longer, pretty much where one would expect a good overcoat to hit, and were frequently frayed, giving a bit of a high/low look to the pieces. Silhouettes weren’t terribly loose, to be sure, but the coat-themed styling prevented them from being as fitted as we’ve often seen from Prada. There’s actually some space to hide a little bloating after lunch. We’re not surprised by the copious amounts of leather, but there are times where the large leather panels in some of the skirts are extremely stiff and seem reluctant to move.
When there are flashes of color, it is most often in the cable knit sweaters appearing under several of the coats, or over it in one case. There are also some very lovely jacquard pieces and some multi-colored patchwork coats and dresses that might easily be mistaken for a quilt when not being worn. Those pieces have a hand-made quality to them that is quite endearing. In fact, the last several looks drop the leather and give one a very home-spun look that channels the 70s vibe stronger than anything preceding it.
It wouldn’t be a Prada show if there weren’t some spectacle to it; I’m sure we’d be quite disappointed otherwise. The spectacle had little to do with the clothing, however, and the clothing has little to do with the spring/summer season. The palette still runs dark, the fabrics, for the most part, are still quite heavy, but the detailing and care with which the pieces are put together make them quite enviable. Bags and shoes, of course, get a lot of attention, but I’ll fully expect to see plenty of patchwork on the sidewalk next spring thanks to Prada.
Photo credit: Monica Feudi