Wherever Miuccia Prada leads the fashion pack follows. So where are we all heading for S/S 2013? Japan, that’s where. Well more specifically to a Geisha flower and willow world, where women sport stiff sculptured minis with metallic tabi socks and futuristic zori-cum-flatform footwear. While a dalliance with the orient isn’t completely new for Prada, this collection took Asian inspiration to a higher level, offering up rigid kimono-inspired pieces complete with origami folding and obi belts in shades of candyfloss, pistachio and smoky black. The structured nature of the silhouettes was enhanced by the severe set design, which featured imposing monochrome columns through which the parading models could be glimpsed.
Never one to rest on her laurels, Miuccia had set about modernising the tradition-inspired garments. Stiff kimono-cum-shift-dresses were given an injection of pizazz with deep U-shaped cut outs at the back. Similarly, structured satin origami-style tops were tailored to hang low, revealing the shoulders and clavicle.
The collection was held together by a childish cartoon flower print, which blossomed on the first look and adorned nearly every outfit thereafter. As with the last few seasons, there was no distinction between daywear and eveningwear. Instead each and every dress, coat and bag was graffitied with the same awkward stamp - its gauche rounded shape a stark contrast from the stiffness of the pieces it decorated - creating a vision that was part pre-teen Harajuku girl, part Memoirs of a Geisha.
But despite the cheery Marimekko poppy detailing and Hello Kitty-esque applique there was a cynicism to this collection. As always, it seemed that there was something deeper behind the embellishment. Could the clash of old and new be a comment on the times? Was the Geisha tribute a pithy assessment of the modern fashion female? Or was this merely a deferential nod to the economic might of the East? With Miuccia it’s never easy to tell. Still, intellectualising aside, on the surface this showing had all the basic elements of a classic Prada smash hit. Those furry flower tops and adorned sunglasses will be street style fodder come next season no problem, and in modern fashion terms it seems that’s all that really matters.