Runway Report: Miuccia Prada Brings Back The Magic At Milan Fashion Week

Lisa Armstrong reports on Prada's autumn/winter 2020 show at the Fondazione Prada

Prada autumn/winter 2020. Photo / Getty Images

What was Miuccia Prada hinting at when she seated her audience in a gantry that had us looking down on her clothes from some height? It’s an odd perspective that distances and objectifies.

Gucci’s show on Wednesday also fostered a sense of apartness, with its models putting on their outfits while the audience watched through the gauzy filter of a scrim. Part peep show, part clouded vision.

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Tellingly, both labels have come under hostile fire in the past year for alleged transgressions against current politically correct thinking. Perhaps subconsciously Miuccia Prada and Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s creative director, are seeking some protection even as they lay themselves open, season after season, to mass scrutiny.

Prada had her models parade across a flame-red backdrop in a wardrobe full of desirable, voluminous tweed, fake fur or duvet tailoring, midi skirts and pumped up, primary coloured Mary Jane shoes.

These are familiar proportions in fashion currently, but Prada gave the jackets just enough extra volume to make them seem edgy and threw in some bold colour combinations, including daffodil yellow and camel, bubblegum pink and Kelly green, orange and burgundy. Dark shirts were co-ordinated with contrasting ties (tending more towards the Joy Division end of things than Annie Hall). Many were tightly belted at the waist, others hung straight and slouchily, almost like grandad cardigans.

Less convincing — at least for this critic — were the slashed ribbon skirts and transparent evening shift dresses (the tunic-trouser combinations were also unconvincing).

As is often the case with Prada, it’s the details that provide the most intrigue. This time, it was micro bag-necklaces, wristbands with what looked like pillboxes attached and the overgrown metal frame lady-bags. Smaller, boxier bags were embellished, as were some of the clothes, with water lilies that looked as though they’d been inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s art nouveau flowers for Liberty. (Gucci has also rummaged through the Liberty archives for its winter collection ).

Is it enough to keep the Prada recovery on the road? The jackets and outerwear are strong and if those pastel tractor-soled wellies become a fashion must-have next winter, it’s safe to say Miuccia’s Prada magic has fully returned.

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Prada likes to flatter its audience into thinking it’s intellectual by headlining the jolie laide, or unconventionally attractive (while smuggling in plenty of eye-catching bags). Max Mara prefers to appeal directly to the lotus eater in us. You want beautiful, classic, luxurious ease? Here it is, in industrial quantities.

Imagine navy, charcoal or camel cashmere, spun into forever capes, teddy-bear textured wrap coats and high-waisted trouser suits, add some high fashion jiggery-pokery sleeve business and you have the makings of a dreamy, classic winter — not just for 2020, but many years beyond.

— The Daily Telegraph

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