Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons’ latest men’s collection for Prada was all about restraint and release, the build-up and then the pay-off. It started dark, shrunken and narrow—built on the foundation of little buttoned-up romper suits, their sleeves and hems rolled up high. While the silhouette was a constant throughout, light, colour, and a certain looseness and sensuousness soon found their way into the collection via bright broad stripes, floral terry hoodies, airy tank tops, knits coming undone, and towards the end, double-waistbands with the front dropping down, the hems pooling at the ankles.
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It was an unraveling in the best way possible—an incremental shift away from the rigour that has marked Miuccia and Raf’s past few joint collections. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it an emergence—of the body, of print, of colour, of a sense of life in the way the clothes got more undone as the show progressed. It mirrored the way the models snaked through an intensely red and intensely enclosed tunnel before finally emerging onto the Copa Carbonara in Sardinia (where the House is funding a marine ecosystems restoration project)—its sandy shores and azure waters a stage for the models to let loose, play, dance, splash and frolic.
The seaside seeped into the collection in other ways. There were fisherman’s hats (emblazoned with the Prada triangle and with slits cut into them to hold sunglasses), boatneck jumpers, sailor smocks, prints of mermaids, anchors and other takes on sailor tats. The slightly askew styling and the meeting of haute and humble was classic Prada, as was the perversity that Miuccia so loves to toy with: It was there in the ugly-chic geometric prints that teeter on the line between good taste and bad; in the ultra-short shorts that looked like miniskirts for men; in the fact that they were worn with black dress socks and glossy black leather shoes—on the beach no less. It all felt a little wrong, which was exactly why it felt so right.