Amidst the runway spectacle at Prada, an unexpected sight stole the spotlight: a viscous trail of slime meandering down the peachy-pink mesh steel runway. Yet, don't be deceived by its eccentricity. While it may serve as enticing "content," this show was an ode to craftsmanship and technique, as Miuccia Prada affirmed. "I got tired talking about ideas—let's talk about clothes," she declared, echoing the core theme of this collection.
Intriguingly, the essence of this showcase lay in its celebration of craftsmanship, an aspect not typically synonymous with Prada. Raf Simons elucidated, "Craft isn't something that gets talked about a lot at Prada, at least not as much as at other houses. We wanted to show what we could do." It transcended the mere tally of hours spent embroidering or the involvement of skilled artisans. Rather, it centred on the audacious pursuit of possibility. Two techniques earned particular acclaim from Simons: the printed fringe adorning floral shirts, creating a dynamic depth to each bloom, and the cascading strands of metal fringe adorning skirts, akin to wearable jewelry—conversations ignited by design ingenuity.
This Prada exhibition, veering away from conventional runway rhetoric, underscored the brand's commitment to the artistry woven into its creations, revealing a side less explored but undeniably captivating in its dedication to the craft of fashion.
Prada has undeniably taken center stage in the world of fashion as of late. Their remarkable performance in the past year saw a staggering 21% increase in revenues compared to 2021. Yet, one need not delve into the company's financials to comprehend its influence. Scan the fashion front rows, and you'll spot their iconic pointy-toe kitten-heel slingbacks, while the market teems with imitations of these twisted-lady shoe counterparts. With a profound emphasis on eccentric craftsmanship, the collection showcased an array of weathered and patchwork leather alongside panné velvet adorned with intricate crystal firework swirls, and more fringe embellishments accentuated by metal eyelets. It's a collection designed to outfox copycats, although one can expect them to persist.
Echoing the men's spring show, the collection's foundation rested on a tailored silhouette: broad-shouldered shackets, combining the cuffs of a shirt with the lapels of a jacket, neatly tucked into high-rise shorts or front-pleat pants tapering gracefully to the ankle. Some of these unconventional suits were cloaked in sheer printed scarves described in the show notes as "fragments of dresses." Their ethereal quality established a connection with another pivotal element of the collection: sleeveless shifts with '60s-via-the-'90s lines, crafted from organza and gazar so delicate that they appeared to float down the runway.
A couple of standout features that ignited conversations were the pre-worn barn jackets (perfect for layering over a Jazz Age flapper dress) and the hand-carved mythological-man clasps adorning evening bags. These clasps were a faithful reproduction of a design originally created by Prada's grandfather in 1913. He was a globetrotter, and his knack for collecting unique treasures, like those exquisite carvings, left an indelible mark on the brand's heritage.
The show culminated with a touching moment as Fabio Zambernardi, Prada and Miu Miu's design director and Miuccia's close collaborator of three decades, joined the designers for a bow. He tipped his cap, embraced them both, and ignited a standing ovation in the audience. Behind the glossy—or, in this case, intricate—exterior, countless skilled hands had toiled tirelessly to bring this sensational collection to life.
In an industry where innovation is paramount, Prada has proven once again that it stands at the forefront of creativity and craftsmanship. Their ability to blend tradition with avant-garde design continues to captivate fashion enthusiasts worldwide, ensuring that Prada remains a trendsetter for years to come.