Prada Cruise 2018

The gridlocked traffic on cobbled streets of Milan yesterday was not, unusually, the result of the world’s fashion press descending on the city, but due instead to a marathon nearby. In fact, far from the usual circus of fashion week, Prada’s Cruise ‘18 show, a first for the brand, was quietly done.

In the past, the collection has been shown as part of the menswear runway collection, but while Miuccia Prada might have joined the Cruise fashion calendar, she chose not to follow the trend of flying the world’s press to far flung destinations (in the next week Dior will show in LA, and Louis Vuitton in Kyoto), choosing to show in the brand’s hometown of Milan, where just shy of 200 satin-covered seats were set in Fondazione Prada’s new photography exhibition space, upstairs from their menswear store in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

And if the spectacle was stripped back, so too were the clothes. There were riffs on the brand’s biggest hitters from SS17, with feathers sprouting from cuffs, but swapping the lemon yellow, pink and turquoise plumage of that season for more wearable black, here trimming a black trench coat, there against a soft pink and grey top printed with hopping rabbits. The sense of humour was still there, but with a little less flounce, and a lot more wearability.

Neat coats in black and grey were tailored, nipped and belted at the waist, then cut to bare the shoulders like cocktail dresses, while elegant LBDs were buttoned like coats. Then came utterly beautiful (though admittedly far less practical) sheer chiffon skirts and blouses, pleated and layered for modesty in clashing shades of lavender, coral and mint green, with black patents belts and overlaid black miniskirts giving structure. The knee-high socks, printed with stripes and Prada logos, and clunky, squashy neoprene trainers velcro-strapped around the ankle grounded all that softness with sportiness. Even as far as stilettos can be sporty, these were, multi-strapped and buckled, with fiercely pointed toes lending a toughness.

There is fantasy here, and beauty, but more than ever a sense of reality, and of the realities of the women buying and wearing these clothes. By skipping the spectacle, the focus was put firmly on the clothes- and they stood up to the scrutiny. These will sell, and sell well, both the frothy and the understated.

Held on the same day as the French Presidential election, I couldn't help but wonder what comment Miuccia Prada was making. To close the show, she chose, not a sequinned and ruffled gown, the usual showstopper, but a black shell suit. This was a Prada shell suit, of course, buckled just above the elbows to add volume, and worn with a pink feather headdress, but it was a shell suit all the same. Perhaps she knows that with the world as it is right now, not every moment is the right one for a ballgown.Read more |

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Added May 9 '17, 12:40AM



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