My head hurts after watching the Prada autumn/winter runway. While part of that might well be due to a severe lack of sleep, I’m having some difficulty justifying what Miuccia says in her designer notes against what she sent down the runway this evening. The notes talk about an “analysis of the relationship between men and women. What are the unexpected possibilities, the various relationships, that may occur between the way men or women can or would dress?” Ouch. Just reading that again makes my temples throb. Analysis? I’m looking at the collection and not even seeing a question. Unexpected possibilities? Various relationships? Not when everything is on trend with cropped pants, oversized broaches, and 60s silhouettes. The looks are too familiar to raise any existential questions.
Then, there’s the line, “Gender is a context and context is often gendered.” Okay, I can’t argue with that and androgyny is something to which Prada is no stranger. Open, minimalist looks would not have been too terribly surprising. But we didn’t see that. Instead, we say incredibly feminine looks with minimal masculine tailoring that might best be described as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” on acid. With very feminine tweeds and highly polished ostrich leather, the suits and dresses coming down the catwalk fit the female form more naturally than anything we’ve seen from the brand in several seasons. The biggest variation from a 1964 catalog was the mixing of pastels within the same look, and even that was done with a reasonable amount of taste.
Reading the notes had me ready to expect severe asymmetry, blurred gender lines, and blocked shapes. Instead, we saw beautifully clean lines that were perfectly symmetrical, exquisite and original detailing (what she does with some of the fur collars is brilliant), and the most “pretty” collection Prada has offered in years! The closest anything came to gender-bending were the double-breasted suit jackets and even those were tailored to a more feminine shape.
I fear there’s something I’m not getting and I hate it when that happens because it makes me feel ignorant. Perhaps I needed a few of those vodka sours being passed around (I opted for tea instead). When this collection hits stores, those who always wanted to raid Jackie Kennedy’s wardrobe will love it; those who can’t wear pastels and don’t like opera gloves are going to hate it. This collection feels light years away from last year’s sensory overload of big coats and excessive goat’s hair. Even the graphic prints were pared down to a minimal DNA reference and that was only on three pieces.
So, while the Prada A/W 2015 collection is certainly attractive, it’s not what I was expecting and seems dramatically out of step with the direction Miuccia has been going. I’m going to take some pain relievers, drink some water, and head over to Moschino while I give this more thought. I have to be missing something.