The blossoming of Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada’s artistic collaboration
Glamorous and optimistic, this show is in the same mindset as the recent fall menswear collection. Same essence, same creative vein. The Koolhaas-setting of the show may look familiar as it was reused from the previous men’s collection. The multi-dimensional cozy cocooned rooms act as the precious case from which Prada’s fashion emerges, in a chic-kaleidoscopic setting. The walls are made of bright faux furs. The show invitation came in a box of the same fur found on the walls and cushy floors. This is an upside-down, topsy turvy Prada wonderland.
The construction and cuts of the garments are thoughtful and precise. Not many accessories or jewelery are needed. The hair and makeup of the models is kept simple (though the stark cuts of angular hair are something we hope to see in discerning fashion circles, which no doubt will trinkle down to the masses by year’s end.) The attention in this collection is mainly kept on the fashion itself. Wonderful knitted sweaters are layered underneath light black dresses with deep v-necks, serving as a window for all the goodness that rests underneath.
The show is followed by a Q&A. Creatives such as architect Rem Koolhaas, actor Hunter Schafer, Marc Jacobs, and the film director of ‘Billie Holiday vs the United States’ (the film was fashioned by Prada), Lee Daniels, pose questions to Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada. The discussion begins by defining ‘Prada-ness.’ Marc Jacobs is humorous and doting. For him, the essence of Prada is Mrs. Prada herself: “No, no, don’t laugh, Mrs. Prada! What we know of Prada is incredible taste and an eye for so many things: culture, intelligence, a sense of style and a love of fashion. A mind that takes in everything. You can’t put your finger on it. It’s Mrs. Prada. “Mrs. Prada certainly has expressed the very best of her artistry through this collection, designing newly feminine garments outside of the bounds of feminine cliches. Anything tailored and well-fitting in this collection cannot be referred to as ‘menswear’ or ‘bespoke masculinity’. It is in a new world all its own. It’s not androgynous. It is not feminine menswear. It is an all new FEMININE.
The garments are pure refinement in themselves. We can take the example of the capelin in faux fur with pink sequin lining and interior. Is this reversible? The assemblage of materials is a work of art, and the models holding this off-the-shoulder cape in place offer graceful gestures, which only amplifies the extreme modernity of the new feminine. We like garments that make our bodies gesture and move and flirt in ways they otherwise would not have the opportunity to. The constant opposition of heavy knits in Art Deco and psychedelic patterns paired with the lightness of the sheer dresses is masterfully balanced.Prada declares with this collection that 2021 is the year of the dress, (but of course not just any dress will do): a practical, knee-length fluid piece, worn by day and into the night, as suggested by the ending close- up moments of the collection, featuring models dancing in a strobe-lit dark room to the sounds of Richie Hawtin.
Is this ‘ugly-chic’ a new signature move of Miuccia Prada? And what is ugly about this collection? I suppose if you consider clashing bright colors layered with complex patterns ugly, okay, but it is made with such close refinement and taste, how do we question this? From the trompe-l’oeil decoltés, to the mix and match of prints realized in collaboration with Belgian artist Peter de Porter (a long time collaborator of our sister publication Numéro Berlin), this collection is desirable, covetable, and fashion-forward. We will want key pieces from this collection.We are fantasizing of our own ways to style those capes, the furs, the boots, and yes, even the sequins … And with a glimmer of hope that things may actually begin slowly reopening around the world later this year, what better way to express our hope and gratitude for all the emotions we have felt, by stretching out of our insular cocoon, and, in defiance, wearing it?