It was Throwback Thursday at the Prada show in Milan.
Designer Miuccia Prada sent the fashion set buzzing when retired supermodel Gemma Ward (who hasn’t walked a runway since 2008) opened the spring/summer 2015 show, wearing a dark fitted double-breasted coat, featuring an outline of contrasting top stitching, and a pair of knee-high stockings and platform clogs.
But it wasn’t just the models (supermodel Lara Stone closed the show) that were bracingly familiar, so too was the collection. It returned the designer to sturdier, albeit it purple, sand-swept ground this season.
Her fascination with perfect and proper ladylike ensembles, that she then proceeds to deconstruct or pervert with sensual undertones, has been a touchstone avenue of expression for Prada since the beginning.
Here that manifested itself in lovely frayed patchworks of antique brocades on dresses, and outlining stitchwork on tailored outerwear.
It was almost as if each of the models had been caught short for time, following an afternoon delight, and slipped their clothing on inside out, thus making the captivating, raw-edged silk seams of a garment its most alluring ornamentation. These naughty ladies were in such a hurry they didn’t even have time to slide on a pair of pants (not one appeared in the whole collection), underneath their covetable lace and leather coats.
The designer returning to one of her preferred decades (the 1970s) was also rather reassuring. But unlike recent collections, this show didn't feel as literal an interpretation. Instead, Prada found a way to take the sartorial codes of that era and bring them forward to today. So just a whiff of the hedonistic exploration of that period could be felt in the darker color palette and in the artisanal construction of the garments.
The purple Prada desert dunes that dominated tonight’s venue might have seemed like a trippy acid flash back. But Signora Prada was anything but parched of tempting ideas that, just like grains of sand, will creep into the crevasses of fashion’s future.