2017 Prada Fashion Show

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Apologies in advance for anyone who might have an allergy to feathers because Mrs. Prada trimmed the vast majority of her collection in wispy fluffy ostrich feathers this evening, and it was nothing short of delightful. Who knew you needed a caramel mink scarf edged in ostrich? Or for that matter, a geo-printed Mandarin-collared silk pajama set with bottoms and shirt cuffs trimmed in the glorious stuff. You do now.

The Prada Fondazione show space was transformed into a steely room with aluminum flooring and giant screens where a silent short film played out. Entitled Past Forward by the acclaimed American writer director, David O Russell (of American Hustle, The Fighter, and Silver Linings Playbook fame), it featured women going about their day, getting dressed, traveling up an escalator carrying luggage, and answering the phone, all back and forth like a Boomerang treatment. The ostrich trims throughout were a fanciful touch of decadence in what was otherwise a classic Prada collection of practical, fit-for-purpose clothes with scholarly appeal - and that can be a rare sighting on the runways of Milan. Like a perfectly lovely camel knitted cardigan and black pleated skirt with jagged hemline (not in the least bit tricksy, just twisted enough to be interesting), a plaid silky bomber jacket, or a schoolgirl grey kilt (ok, that one was trimmed in ostrich), but there was lots here that can – and will – easily slot into a woman’s wardrobe. Several pieces seemed inspired by students, witnessed in the series of gym knickers teamed with bookish black polo neck sweaters, and even the way models clutched large envelope bags to their chests as if they were folders filled with essays and homework. Shoes were also no-nonsense, rubber flipflops in Crayola colours, some with Fit Flop-style soles, an element that added just the right dose of questionable taste.

Prada began to tease its spring 2017 show on Instagram as early as two days ago—but these sneak previews weren't of design sketches, mood boards, zoomed-in detail shots, or anything we're used to seeing before a collection debut. They were of short black-and-white clips captioned with the announcement of a "special multi-screen installation by director David O. Russell in collaboration with Miuccia Prada at the #PradaSS17 show." Stand by, the 'gram had advised. We stood by, and this was what unfolded at the Prada spring 2017 show at Milan Fashion Week.

Given what’s going on in the world, the constant bombardment of bad and terrifying news we’re surrounded with, what role should fashion play in our lives? When it boils down to it, that’s the crucial question every seller of fashion is facing now, from recent graduates to giant clothing behemoths. Miuccia Prada’s reaction, this season, was to simplify, declutter, and de-intellectualize. Or so she said: “Instead of exploring the history of women, which I have for a while, I decided to take care of now, the present, and trying to find elegance.”
These were her words after a show that in some ways did strip back brand Prada to its innovative, recognizable foundations. The girl in the black tank T-shirt and black knee-length box-pleated kilt who came out at the beginning was a clear reminder of the ’90s minimalism of which the Prada techno-stretch uniform set the pace. But this wasn’t like a literal retrospective at all. There were many reminders of Prada’s taste down the years, like her permanent passion for a ’20s or ’30s Deco-graphic print on a lovely fit-and-flare midi dress, and her abiding obsession with tiny knickers—this time of the high-waist type the 1940s star Betty Grable would’ve recognized.
Still, what really stood out were Prada’s madly extravagant miles of ostrich and marabou trimmings on stoles, smothering envelope bags, fluffing up necklines and sprouting, Dr. Seuss–like, from sandals. Eventually, they got married up with the wonderful things in the show—palest beige-color lemony wrap skirts and dresses, chinoiserie pajamas, and stately wrapped coats, some sparkled with diamanté.
Is this a suitable, appropriate fashion response to some of the direst circumstances humanity has faced in half a century? Well, maybe. When Christopher Kane used liberal ostrich trimmings in his Fall 2017 collection, he framed it as a sign of madness. Fashion can distract from awful times with fluff, and that’s okay. Sometimes we crave that much more than the same old useful things. Emotionally, Miuccia Prada knows how to play that duality all the way.

Miuccia Prada seriously pared things down this season, and she dove into the present rather than explore the history of women. Last year Prada’s profits plunged by 28 percent according to Business Insider, so Miuccia may have been looking to keep things simple and sellable. Well, it worked. To wit: There were splendidly chic Chinois pajama-style eveningwear, the most elegant of which came in a soft yellow with ostrich feather trimming. Versions of the look included a feather-trimmed evening coat and a crop-top and skirt set. Ultra-short mini skorts were worn with simple printed button-downs with a sensible cardigan thrown over top. Plus, covetable plaid blazers were styled perfectly with a high-slit cotton candy-colored ostrich-trimmed skirt or with floral-printed mini skorts—but for the woman for whom the latter would be out of question, these blazers would look equally as great with a pair of dress pants. Even the simple black A-line dress looked just right when styled with a turquoise necklace and luscious pink ostrich shawl. Ostrich feathers adorned more than half of the collection, and those decadent but delicate trimmings were just the right touch on Miuccia’s version of minimalism.

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Miuccia Prada once again captures the spotlight of Milan Fashion Week with her latest PRADA collection, the Spring Summer 2017 womenswear season exploring the sentiment of label’s DNA. Once again PRADA teams up with the AMO the design studio of the world renowned architecture practice OMA.

The set for the Prada Women’s Spring/Summer 2017 show was conceived by AMO as layers of diverse architectures. The new space is built over the remnants of the previous season which serve as both a foundation, and visible background, for the current scenography. The central space has been cleared to accommodate a linear structure that divides the room and amplifies its proportions. A straight ramp elevated above the floor serves as the catwalk and risers are arranged along the perimeter accommodate the guests. All the elements of the set are shroud in an expanded-metal layer forming an abstract configuration of overlapping mesh. The underlying framework remains visible through the cladding and is revealed with Cartesian precision. Lights filter through the mesh creating a pale glow. – from PRADA

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The striking set also included film installation prepared by director David O. Rusellbrought in collaboration with NYC based design studio 2×4. The video wall included clips from the PAST FORWARD short film a soon to be released new collaboration between Miuccia Prada and David O. Rusell. The full film will see its premiere in Los Angeles in November to be featured afterwards on Prada’s official web page.

See more of the collection and the set design after the jump:

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Miuccia Prada isn’t so shy after all. You know all those peek-a-boo show bows she’s famous for, the quick blink-and-you-missed-her half-steps from backstage? It turns out, they have nothing to do with reticence or stage fright. Rather, Prada just may not be into going out there to soak up the applause. At least not until after her spring show on Wednesday night, when she proceeded a good way down the runway (the same metal mesh catwalk she used for men’s). She stopped where director David O. Russell sat with Sinqua Walls, Kuoth Wiel and Jack Huston, the stars of Russell’s film collaboration with Prada, a snippet of which was screened during the show. Prada stopped and applauded them for several seconds before returning backstage.

A graceful gesture. And appropriate to the sartorial moment, because the graceful gesture is what Prada had on her mind for spring. “I decided I wanted to…do something much more simple [than the recent past collections], and kind of trying to find a new way of elegance,” she said backstage. “Elegance sounds [like] an old-fashioned word, but also [stands] for something meaningful, cultivated….We need at this moment something personal, intimate, real, more sensitive somehow.”

That quest culminated in a breathtaking collection, one in which she de-blahed the classics with all the power of her potent Prada-ness. Tank, trench, cardigan, plaid shirt, pajamas, baseball jacket, wrap skirt, and on and on, even the polite pinup two-piece swimsuit of yore: Prada rethought them in a manner that had nothing to do with styling over substance or staging shenanigans, movie aside. (In fact, at this double feature, you had to choose one, film or runway. Divided attention would have shortchanged both.) A major motif was the incongruous application of marabou feathers to much of the above, whether as cuffs on pajamas (tops and bottoms trimmed in different colors); a floating panel down the length of a skirt, or a boa dangling at the wrists of a shirt/sweater/skirt trio. Otherwise, Prada layered discordant pieces and prints and made subtle tweaks of silhouette, buttoning a trench off to the side and exaggerating a baseball jacket into a couture-like sac in back.

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