Last season’s Prada menswear offering was rightly lauded as a return to the kind of agenda setting, utterly unique form that established Mrs. P as a beacon of individuality in Milan’s frequently staid calendar. It was, you may recall, about a journey, a pilgrimage into the high seas of yore; Hence the choice of Eddie Redmayne (looking every inch the early 19th century English admiral) for the label’s recent campaign photos. What better fit could there be for those detached collar white shirts and frock coat-style outerwear than Redmayne in all his upright, period-drama splendour? Well, you can safely say he won’t be returning for SS17. For yesterday’s collection was about a very different kind of journey: one equally turbulent but much, much, more modern.
2001, A Prada Odyssey
Modern and very now, yes. But also, somehow, rather like Prada men’s early, turn-of-the-millennium days: that focus on the technical and that futuristic, vaguely awkward utilitarianism was out in full force. Somewhere between hikers and raving festival goers, the men were joined by a hearty smattering of women in Resort as this procession of models traipsed along with vast rucksacks on their backs and plenty of straps and belts wrapped around them. That tourist pastiche, the sock worn with the technical sandal, was also a constant. Strangely enough, it’s a combination that’s been everywhere this season. Perhaps it says something about our times that everyone from Lou Dalton to Raf Simons has opted to for this most practical-yet-impractical of former fashion faux pas.
Billowing outerwear cut from shimmering nylon with silvery, liquid surfaces struck another early 00s note, but that’s not to say this collection could be labelled with anything as trite or reductive as “recent nostalgia”. It skipped to and fro, encompassing everything from shirts printed with stereotypically Mexican motifs (there’s that tourist again), to dinner jackets festooned with camping essentials like carabiners and a torch. In the hands of a different designer – one that follows Alessandro Michele’s lead – that yoking together of heterogeneous elements could appear whimsical. Here, there was something more unsettling afoot. Prada’s citizens could have been fleeing something, their worldly possessions (high heels and all) tethered on their backs: somehow both prepared and absolutely unready for whatever lies ahead.