Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons envisioned their fall/winter 2022 Prada collection as an excavation and examination of the history of women. That, naturally, led to an exploration of the history of womenswear and the history of the woman at the beating heart of Prada, Miuccia. The most obvious result of the first was the series of sculpted jackets and knits worn with full skirts that evoked the New Look. Next came the New New Look—Prada and Simons’ take translated into supersized bomber jackets, heavily embellished and decorated, worn with the flimsiest wisp of a skirt.
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But much more exciting was the deep dive into Prada’s own decades-old design history. That resulted in an update on the designer’s signatures—the Nineties-era minimalism, the sense of subverted and/or heightened reality, the emphasis on womanliness (instead of girlishness)—the latter underscored by a cast that includes generations of Prada models like Erin O’Connor, Liya Kebede and Hannelore Knuts.
In the minimalist camp was a look that harked back to the brand’s Nineties era. Since Prada and Simons joined forces, they have often built their collections on a foundational garment—think the longjohn, the romper, the miniskirt. This season, the building block was a white cotton tank with the Prada triangle front-and-centre; it was worn with sheer slips and boy briefs, or with a narrow knee-length skirt trisected into panels composed of clashing materials—flannel, satin and mesh; leather, tulle and ribbed knit; or wool, lurex and embroidered net. It is a look that is sure to be as viral as spring/summer 2022’s mullet minis and bra-cup knits.
Also present were Prada’s “ugly” wallpaper and carpet prints from the Nineties, transplanted here onto jacquard knits and worn with the triple-panelled skirts and slouchy, silvery boots. Drawn from more recent Prada history were iterations of the coats the duo showed during January’s men’s shows—those hulking pieces with their extreme proportions and bands of clashing-coloured furs on the arms and hems. Elsewhere, Prada and Simons were into the idea of proportion play; the most compelling results of which were the big, black coat-dresses—severe in silhouette and extreme in proportion, adorned with strands of pearls pulled askew at the neckline. Reality through an off-kilter lens—that’s as Prada a signature as it gets.