At Prada Fall/Winter 2023, the show centered on the theme of "Taking Care", represented by stripped-back looks that paid homage to nurse's uniforms and wedding gowns.
The industrial interior of the Deposito at the Fondazione Prada – which is usually decorated in ways that offer clues as to the show’s themes – appeared to be bare when guests began filtering in for the Prada Fall/Winter 2023 presentation. The collection, too, was stripped back to the essentials, leaving only the (metaphorical) scaffolding upon which Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons hung a single idea: Taking Care.
It’s an intriguing concept. While fashion certainly reflects the zeitgeist and is a fascinating anthropological study of human nature, it’s also a product meant to be bought and sold. Care, empathy, and compassion...this is language not often used in high fashion, which is why it felt unexpectedly tender for Prada and Simons to shine a light on those typically left out of the fashion conversation.
“Because these garments are important, the wearers are important. Because every day of life counts,” the show notes read. In investigating moments of care – wedding dresses that spoke of love transformed into decorative skirts, military uniforms reimagined as long dresses, pillowy silhouettes that protect the body against life’s hard surfaces, clinical white looks reminiscent of nursing uniforms – Prada pressed an emotional button.
What this meant in practice was a sort of utilitarian practicality; simplified, sleek, and chic. There were skirts of every variety and length – short and long, wrap and A-line – decorated with 3D appliqués and worn with plain sweaters and oversized blazers. Pointy elements peeked from collars, shoulders, and shoes recalled the angles of a nun’s cornette. These elements allowed a small injection of color into otherwise neutral ensembles. When color did enter the picture, it did so in mesmerizing ways: a dove grey molded leather jacket with a matching pencil skirt was worn with mandarin orange shoes and a collared shirt in terracotta and fuchsia, a juicy yellow knit was paired with slim cut baby pink trousers, and another combination came in mint and peach. The solidity of Prada’s new “uniforms” was later undercut by a series of psychedelic printed dresses. When the show commenced, the space was transformed by a moving ceiling that revealed columns dressed in flowers, proving that beauty can be found where we least expect it, like in moments of care between a nurse and patient.