At the latest Prada Fall 2022 Show by Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, a return to form revealed itself.
Whose form – that’s up for debate as Simons and Signora Prada continue to explore the boundaries of their shared creative vision.
It’s not so much a balancing act because that would signify stasis but rather a push and pull of ideas and codes that sometimes veer further to Raf and then at other times towards Miuccia.
What came out onto the runway was in fact retrospective of both that looked ahead towards a menswear built around a functioning, working wardrobe.
Historically, Prada’s approach to fashion has been a cerebral exercise that questions the aesthetic of fashion. This time around, it seems the brand is focusing on the purpose.
The collection was perhaps one of the most wearable offerings that the brand has released in a while. Both in nature of the fits which have moved towards a roomier silhouette and in the directness of the clothes themselves.
A jacket isn’t always just a jacket. For example, muscular leather coats strode alongside the softer lines of woollen versions, both accentuated with exaggerated shoulders and sleeve lengths while cinched at the waist to completely re-structure the familiar masculine outline.
Some have been quick to try and point out how these similar shapes are currently “owned” by Balenciaga but they’re also pure Raf, who had visited similar shapes back in 2012.
These were counterbalanced with lightweight trousers in bright, sometimes neon, colours. The result created a dual sense of freedom and coverage.
This enclosed freedom – inspired, perhaps, by the medical workers in their body suits that now permeate our media? – was taken to its natural conclusion in a series of overalls, or boilersuits, in candy-bright hues.
The uniform of the trade class but make it luxury.
Bulk was added to knitwear and volume to trousers, similarly striking a tone that sat somewhere between formal and work.
Of course, the buzz around the faces that appeared on the runway has almost eclipsed the collection itselff, opened by Kyle MacLachlan and closed by Jeff Goldblum.
Joining these two were a slew of contemporary actors – Asa Butterfield from Sex Education, Louis Partridge from the forthcoming Pistol series on the life of Sid Vicious and Ashton Sanders.
Their presence was a construct of the different tropes of masculinity through various operations of work and ages. An interesting take, yes, but a risky one
A risky one because the presence of this level of celebrity can occasionally distract from the clothing as you navigate your way through the line-up of VIP faces.
But this itself was also a reference this time in favour of Miuccia’s back catalogue and her red carpet approach to the Prada Fall 2012 runway that featured Gary Oldman, Willem Dafoe and Jamie Bell.
Once you peel back these layers, the name of the show, Body of Work, reveals itself as a double entendre – a collection of clothing that reclassifies the concept of workwear as elevated and comfortable, and a deep dive into the body of work of both designers.