For Spring/Summer 2022, Prada held two identical shows, simultaneously, on opposite sides of the world—one in Milan and the other in Shanghai. The decision shows an optimistic acceptance that most fashion journalists in Asia are not going to make it to any fashion week this season, and possibly the next. China’s outbound travel is slated to recover but only gradually over a number of years. Because the Asian market remains increasingly important to the European luxury fashion industry, such an approach may prove a viable solution for the ever evolving fashion week paradigm.
For this collection, Raf Simons plays up boudoir motifs for a new proposed sensuality. Buttery soft leather jackets feature hook and eye closures inspired by corsetry, while underwired bra is incorporated into knitwear to create a sculpted bust, and crisp white shirting is also buttressed at the waist with boning. The result? A fetish undertone juxtaposing quotidian archetypes.
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The concept of sex appeal is also turned around, with many looks featuring a covered front, but a sexy exposed back. This is created in an almost haphazard way, where shirt dresses that button in the back are left undone down to the tail bone. Elsewhere, the back of the dresses appear to be peeled away, and the fabric left free to trail behind as almost unintentional trains.
This approach of editing back to simplicity, and letting the clothes create their own silhouettes, is seen also in boat necklines that are folded, somewhat serendipitously echoing Prada’s emblematic triangle, and mini skirts that appear, deceptively, to be constructed by simply wrapping and pinning back a single long bolt of taffeta.
But this exercise in restraint did not feel utilitarian. The rich couture fabrics and clean tailored lines throughout the collection suggests decadence more than practicality. This could be the new uniform as we start leaving our homes — smart and effortless, walking the line between dressing up and dressing down.
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