Deciphering a new collection by Miuccia Prada, who showed her latest women’s collection for next spring on Thursday night during Milan fashion week, is done through a series of clues.
It starts with the invitation – this time white plastic with plain black type – and then the set, which featured black and white painted pillars and a walkway reminiscent of a Japanese temple.
In fact, as the models started to arrive on the catwalk, it all went decidedly Japanese-looking. Some girls wore metallic leather socklets like traditional Japanese tabi socks – where the big toe is separated from the rest — with small bows on them. They looked a little like ballet pumps without a sole. Some of these were worn with ornate super-stacked platform sandals.
The initial colour palette revolved around black, off-white and red with stylised flower motifs, which looked like either daisies or dandelions. Appliquéd on simple dresses at the beginning, they then appeared throughout.
Shapes also had a distinct eastern flavour, with judo-style belting in the back of one dress, hard origami-style folded skirts and dresses in pale pink or off-white duchess satin, and kimono-style off-the-shoulder jackets.
Backstage after the show, Miuccia Prada dodged the question when asked if it was meant to be a “bit Japanese”. But she has a habit of doing this – when she did a very 1950s collection recently, she refused to confirm that it was based on that era. Instead she said that it was about the “impossibilities of women”.
The use of flowers this time was meant to be a “symbol of life for women and the huge struggle we always have,” she said. Other descriptions of the clothes she offered were “toughness with sweetness” and “rigorous but also delicate.” She also confirmed that the crazily high platforms would be lowered before going into shops next January.
To break things up, there was a more graphic and sporty 1970s element, which seemed borrowed from June’s menswear collection. Cycling shorts, gym knickers and a ribbed body suit all featured. For a spring/summer collection there was also a lot of fur. Coats and tops featuring the daisy motif in black were included, while even delicate evening bags came in fur with jewels.
The current Prada autumn/winter collection, arriving in stores now and being worn by the likes of Anna Wintour, is all about graphic optical patterns, purple, trousers and embellishment, so – true to form – this latest offering took a turn in a totally different direction.
There was something rather brooding and rebellious, glamorous but a little sinister. Plus, there were plenty of trademark quirky accessories – floral decorated sunglasses, daisy-motif handbags and chunky heeled sandals.
Last month, Prada reported a 36.5% rise in sales to €1.54bn (£1.23bn) for the six months to 31 July. Trade magazine Women’s Wear Daily reported that, geographically, Asia-Pacific continues to drive Prada’s growth, with sales up 45%, followed by Japan, up 34.2%. It’s likely that, following Thursday night’s show, those sales will continue to climb.
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Image via Diva Asia