Prada’s SS24 Womens: More than Slime at Milan Fashion Week
In a world where fashion often leans on the predictable, Prada’s SS24 Women’s collection is a breath of fresh peach-pink tinted air.
This year, guests were gifted an origami-inspired box invitation, which opened to reveal an assortment of crèmes and make-up, each printed with a motif - ‘Prada - rethinking beauty.’ Following the breathtaking men's spring show in June, it was unsurprising that a plethora of a-list celebrities and ambassadors were flooding the gates at Fondazione Prada. All were in anticipation, hoping to witness the iconic green slime spectacle, akin to a modern wonder of the world.
At the show, invitees sat in silent anticipation, the ambient noise pulsating from speakers causing the steel mesh floor to vibrate beneath them. Luminescent white lights and the sounds of the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra suddenly filled the room and revealed a complete Deposito Fondazione Prada makeover. The once shiny industrial steel space had now been completely powder-coated in matte peach-pink foundation with the suspended ceiling roof in blush to pair.
The first look was reminiscent of the closing ensemble from the men’s spring show: a belted short suit in grey wool draped with a printed georgette scarf that the show notes described as “fragments of dresses.” In these spring collections, fluidity was the defining essence. The subsequent looks floated like ethereal jellyfish lappets down the runway in superfine organza dresses. Tension and expectation in the air was soothed at this moment when goopy slime dripped and hit the mesh floor, but this time it was peach pink. Surrounded by reporters backstage, Miuccia Prada commented “I got tired talking about ideas—let’s talk about clothes”. In a landscape where fashion lines blur between feminine and masculine, have the Prada spring collections set a new precedent for gender fluidity in design?
Much like the primary ingredient in a bottle sets its essence, the foundation for this show's makeup was its tailored silhouette. Extended padded shoulders, flowing bell sleeves and high-waisted ballooned bottoms, made from an ultra-fine light-weight wool fabric, all appeared. Further down the list shrouded by the slime, the looks included cashmere polos hand-embroidered with swirls of crystal and studs, belted shorts in wool with fringe skirts hand-studded with metal eyelets and silver-chain, “built like jewellery”, as described by Raf Simons. Breaking the mould were utility cabans in hand-treated cotton and patinated leather that appeared lived in. The patchwork leather and dresses in panné velvet, hand-embroidered with chain hinted at a marriage of pragmatism and luxury. These pieces felt as if Jane Austen's heroines had decided to rebel and merge with the modern world, but without losing their essence.
For this collection and its 110th anniversary, Prada reinterpreted a handbag design originally devised by Mario Prada, Miuccia Prada’s grandfather and co-founder of Prada, in 1913. The bags featured hand-carved fastenings depicting a mythological figure. A reflection of contemporary enthusiasm for historical aesthetics and an ode to Mario who would travel the world collecting unique ornaments.
As the lights dimmed and the applause reverberated, one couldn't help but sense the end of a very profound era. Fabio Zambernardi, the Design Director of Prada and Miu Miu for three decades, stepped forward. Having recently resigned, his appearance alongside the designers, marked by a heartfelt embrace and a tip of his hat, drew an overwhelming standing ovation, emphasising that behind every gleaming—or gooey—piece was a team's dedicated craftsmanship. Prada, in its 110th year, not only celebrated its past but also gave the world a hint of where fashion is headed in the future.
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