Outstanding, just outstanding. One can’t even begin to describe the energy and joy that followed the S/S 19 Prada show. A peer was literally high - as in eyes wide, jittering, cursing with excitement high - after the show. And can you blame them? This was a Prada resurge, everything you want from a Prada collection was there: nostalgia, sex appeal, trade-mark signatures of old and new, and the unexpected.
The show was set in the grand, dense hall of the Fondazione Prada and the Vernon Panton inflatable cubes were back from the Menswear S/S 19 show, much to everyone’s delight. Frederic Sanchez’s intense techno was just as fantastic as the space and the clothes, with the odd jolting remix of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg’s Je t'aime,...moi non plus providing an eerie darkness. This slightly queer ambience could be seen in the looks too, as models emerged with mini-fringes, their doe-eyed extra-long lashes and satin swing dresses with collar detailing - all reminded one of Mia Farrow in Roman Polanski’s horror Rosemary’s Baby.
‘The whole thing for me was to discuss what was happening in the world now…’ said Mrs.Prada backstage. ‘To discuss a wish of freedom and liberation and fantasy, and, on the other side, the extreme conservatism that is coming.’ This push and pull, as with most Prada shows, was explicit throughout. Conservatism took form in the sweet satin dresses, the bow collars, the jumper layers, knee high-socks and the revival of thick satin headbands. In true Prada style, these elements were liberated with cut-outs on the chest, deep V necks that plunged through each look sheer socks that were given sex appeal with the addition of a logo, and t-shirt dresses that literally started in a prim, conservative white and ended at the hem with a pang of neon and typically magical Prada embroidery.
Peepholes on elbows and brightly coloured sock sandals were welcome weird and wonderful additions, as too were the new classic Sidonie bags - here larger and in typically conservative browns or white. Satin pedal-pushers seemed to be an extended version of the short-shorts we had seen prior at the menswear show, but here amongst the tie-dye (yes tie-dye!) and nylon, they took on a gloriously bourgeois aesthetic.
A few of the nylon looks here were reinvented by female architects, Cini Boeri, Elizabeth Diller and Kazuyo Sejima: created by women for women. One a functional handbag, one a bag that transforms with ease into a belted jacket/dress and one perfectly unorthodox chain of bags, each lined with squiggles of Prada pastels. With the resurge of Linea Rossa and Prada Nylon, everyone is seemingly obsessively nostalgic about Prada right now. You had only to look at the audience to see how much this year of Prada has affected fashion. Customers are creating fanfare over old-school Prada, and Mrs. Prada just created a collection that had sublimely subtle nods to her archive. Genius!
Youthful, cute, nostalgic, twisted, effeminately laced with sex appeal, this collection was a truly brilliant multifaceted representation of femininity.