This season, the catwalk set in the cavernous Prada venue was covered in charcoal gray felt, raised high above the audience’s heads and surrounded by metal scaffolding. It was a combination that had spectators craining their necks from the orchestra seating to take in the collection while having a slightly ominous sense of being fenced in and sound proofed. And speaking of orchestras… Miuccia Prada also had one of those on hand, set up in its very own pit to – at some points in the show- act as live musical accompaniment.
Only a few looks into this fall/winter 2014 menswear show and Prada added another distracting element into the mix- womenswear. As if the set and the jarring combination of live orchestra music with heavy metal songs and German cabaret tunes wasn’t enough. The designer’s choice to show variations of the same slightly louche lady in leather elastic waistband dresses, semi sheer tops and fur stoles pulled the focus off the collection's discreet menswear.
And maybe that was the point. For this was a collection that was bereft of any vibrant prints, geriatric cool footwear or bombastic coats- if you discount a couple sleeveless fur and leather embellished straightjackets. Instead the menswear was really rather restrained for Prada. The tailored two button suit jackets, flat front trousers and clean car coats did hint to a western wear heritage. The accent colored piping on trouser pockets, neck scarves and wide notch lapel coats all added a bit of interest to the ensembles. And the designer’s singular eye for color produced some shades that are uniquely hers and will be instantly identifiable.
It’s true that Prada is always pushing sartorial boundaries. But this time all the “add on” elements pushed this collection off the felt coated edge.