In the cavernous show space where the Prada collection is shown each season, designer Miuccia Prada, constructed a graphic backdrop to her Asian influenced designs.
Square black columns created a vertical echo of the catwalk and helped to highlight the structural nature of the show. One that took traditional Asian dress- the Hanfu cross collar gowns, Obi belts, Tabi socks and Okobo platform shoes- and gave them a sensual and intellectual slant.
The boxy silhouette, cut from stiff silks and glossy satins, that dominated the show, gave the clothing an aloof air. To soften that sense of distance, Prada inserted patchwork pieces of fabric covered with stark sun baked flower prints or rosette appliqué blooms.
In fact, flowers became the leitmotif of this collection. Their handicraft, almost childlike interpretation, appeared on every single look Prada sent down the catwalk. From the matronly eyewear and the square handbags, to the dresses and fur coats; crude blossoms bloomed.
But no matter how many flowers Prada scattered on the clothing they never lost their dark spirit. Even when the designer moved away from all of the black ensembles and produced blush pink obi inspired mini dresses that had sexy scooped out backs, this collection still felt remote and removed.
It will be a difficult task to defrost this fashion statement. But it is one that Prada devotees are sure to take up with relish.
- Jessica Michault