By Colleen Barry, The Associated Press on January 14, 2024.
MILAN (AP) – Prada brought nature indoors as a backdrop for its 2024-25 fall and winter menswear collection meant to get humans outside.
Underfoot, beneath a plexiglass floor in the Prada showroom revamped for the new season, a man-made stream murmured over rocks and rustled leaves. Poised above, the fashion crowd sat on blue office chairs arranged to form a swirling runway.
So the stage was set to explore the tension between the natural and working worlds.
The new Prada collection, unveiled on the third day of Milan Fashion Week menswear previews Sunday, marked “the return of the seasons,” as a point of renewal of the spirit, co-creative director Miuccia Prada said backstage.
Without falling into strict categories of office wear and outdoor wear, Prada said that the collection “was meant for going outside,” and spending time there, not just as a point of transit.
That means uncinched raincoats, double-breasted or zipped, structured with epaulettes, and knit bathing caps or tight ribbed hoods to protect against the elements. It also meant athletic textured leggings paired with turtlenecks in contrasting bright shades.
Raf Simons, Prada’s co-creative director, said the collection referenced water in its many forms: the sea, rain, a stream, ice. Wellies were too obvious for Prada. Instead, there were white-and-turquoise fishermen sandals and heelless dress shoes.
A sleek leather peacoat with furry collar and a captain’s cap gave a mariner’s accent, one of many references in a show that veered to Wall Street, and revisited details and silhouettes from the 1920s to the 1960s.
“We wanted to change and challenge the architecture of clothing,” Simons said.
For the office, ties were back, worn over two-tone shirts with white colors. Jackets had important proportions. Leather belts on trousers were sewn in, replacing waistbands, and cinched on the hip: pretty weaves, or plain and sloping. Tweed offered texture, knitwear brightness, with twinsets providing contrasting color stories in fire engine red and turquois, olive and salmon.
“I feel the need of being attached to something so basic for human nature, like the seasons, like outside. So that the clothes relate with the outside, with the weather, with reality,” Prada said.
Always political, the Prada collection references climate change, but without being explicit.
“It is too big to go there,” Prada said.
“We wanted to talk about something relevant, because in these moments you cannot avoid to talk about subjects that are relevant. For instance, weather,” she said.
Actors Jake Gyllenhaal and James McAvoy had front-row seats. But the crowds of adoring fans waiting outside were for K-pop VIPs.