Miuccia Prada was travelling through time last season, at her A/W show, using the artworks of Christophe Chemin to bring together icons and stars of past generations into strangely entrancing shirting motifs. She’d continued her explorative ventures for S/S 17 - this time looking into the future, rather than the past.
It makes sense for Prada to be considering new times and the next generation. Their present is shaky - profits have dropped. While Prada has never stopped being critically and creatively acclaimed - that’s no mean feat given how many journalists and critics yawn at the wares of other Italian greats who’ve been designing for the same length of time - it’s suffered commercially. So it’s no surprise that backstage Mrs Prada was talking about looking ahead, the way people dress today and the importance of having everything you need around you. Those ideas were clear when surveying the runway, without added explanation. This was a festival of product - make that purely 2016-relevant product. Models appeared in easy separates and sporty daywear, laden with accessories. They were styled as mini packhorses, off for a journey, layers on, backpack strapped. How apt for our times - we carry our whole lives in our pockets and handbags. We like to have everything we need within reach - the pace of how we live our lives matches the much discussed pace of the industry. We travel, we commute, we wear the same clothes from 8am to midnight, we’re always on go - living digital lives as well as real ones. Many models appeared in sandals with smarter shoes tied to their cargo - that’s also an apt symbol for fashion and style today, which is so focused on outfits that can take you anywhere and be transformed as the day progresses; morning to night, work to play, smart to casual.
There’s usually a certain moodiness to Prada - a disheveled glamour, a certain angst or irreverence. This season there was instead a quiet optimism - an embracing of things to come. Times are changing for the brand - from new fragrances to selling with online e-retailers. The future calls. As the models walked up the runway, as if ascending into a strange new world, the beats of club masters Faithless boomed through the space. How apt for a collection that’s all about galvanising and inspiring the pack to get involved - to shop, rather than simply admire. In other words, a crowd pleaser.