Prada’s autumn/winter 2022 collection was a redefining moment for the Italian fashion house. Below, fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen rounds up five things you need to know.
The collection was founded in classic wardrobe pieces
With Kim Kardashian in the audience and Kendall Jenner on the runway, this season’s Prada show was something of a redefining moment for the Prada woman. “This collection is about the history of women, the history of people, not the history of fashion. I have always said this, but now it feels significant to be re-stated”, Miuccia Prada said. “Using these pieces – being inspired by history – connects with the lives of the past. You want to live again, to be inspired. And to learn from the lives of people.” She was referring to the classic wardrobe pieces that characterised the collection: the white vest, the sweatshirt, the bomber jacket, the aviator jacket, the leather jacket, the little black dress and so on, nearly all of them founded in function before becoming a tool for fashion. “Tradition is about humanity: connections between people, passing down knowledge; a human history. These ideas interested us – to look at how and why things had been created in certain ways”, she continued. “But there is only a trace, a memory. It’s not retro, at all.”
It referenced the Prada archives
Identifying the outerwear tropes of the workwear and military wardrobes, Prada and co-creative director Raf Simons played with their genre language, magnifying volumes and adding surface decoration to garments that haven’t historically called for it. They embellished pilot jackets with kitschy, chunky sequins in floral patterns, and adorned coats lifted from the heritage gentlemen’s wardrobe with extra-fake-looking faux fur in saccharine colors. “In taking from the past we translate the beauty, [the] quality of tradition; even of couture. This is always something Prada has done”, Simons explained, alluding to the archival spirit that filled the show. “Valuing history includes us valuing Prada’s history. I think of revolutionary moments in Prada’s history, and we echo them here. There are never direct recreations, but there is a reflection of something you know: a language of Prada. And those moments have helped define our idea of beauty today, which we are now redefining.”
Prada signaled a new openness
With a cast that included everyone from Erin O’Connor and Arizona Muse to Hunter Schafer and new faces, Prada and Simons staged through characters the time-spanning dialogue they wanted to convey through their designs. But it was the appearance of the Kardashian-Jenners – a new addition to Prada’s brand values (although Jenner has walked Miu Miu before and Kardashian has been photographed in Prada) – that really spoke to the redefinition taking place in the intellectual halls of Prada. By including stars known from reality TV and social media on its cast and guest lists, Prada was signaling a wider embrace, which was echoed in the straight-forwardness of the collection. Formidable as they were, these were statement clothes most would be able to understand: enlarged ideas of familiar garments decorated with fun, frilly embellishments that wouldn’t just turn heads, but jump through a social media screen, too.
It was a simplified Prada
If there’s a simplification process going on at Prada, it’s what Simons referred to as an ongoing stripping-down process. “There is an important aspect to me, which is the idea of stripping down. The process of reduction, of focusing – something we have explored from our first collection together – is present again”, he said. “Any narrative has been stripped away, but the pieces themselves have a paradoxical complexity: an internal, personal narrative. Architecture redefines the relationship between a woman and her clothes through something intimate; hidden. And traditional decoration is used in non-traditional forms, to challenge or contradict the visual conventions of pieces. It is never obvious.” Translated for a new, younger Prada customer, the message was this: wardrobe classics, updated; familiar but new; complex-seeming but quite easy to wear.
Accessories included triangle bags and silver boots
Speaking of appealing to the social media generation, Prada and Simons concocted a number of photogenic accessories to whet the appetites of a merch-manic audience. Next to the alien hairdos – a futuristic version of a mid-century up-do – the designers layered their collection with sculptural Santiago-heeled occasion shoes, some rather subversive fade-leather handbags, triangle-shaped and triangle-print evening bags, and knee-high silver boots. But the defining detail may have been the beaded silver chain that closed around the neck of black dresses, attached to a big Prada triangle.
Originally published in Vogue.co.uk