To understand the scope of Prada’s breathtaking Fall/Winter 2016 collection, you must begin in an unlikely place: the brand’s menswear show for Fall 2016. Not only did Miuccia Prada present several womenswear looks in her men’s show, but when she released her new collection on Milan’s runways yesterday, she even used the same female models. Other carryovers included her use of white sailor hats, argyle tights, and prints designed by artist Christophe Chemin. Her men’s show depicted a voyage through history, and this message was also used in her Fall/Winter 2016 womenswear show. Paper diaries resembling well-loved passports served as show invites, and acted as foreshadowing for the show’s theme of travel. Prada’s vagabond girls were not only time-travelers, they were world-travelers, collecting tokens and talismans of their adventures along the way, and looping them around their necks and waists for safe-keeping.
The backdrop to it all was an wooden structure created by the architecture firm OMA (with whom Prada has collaborated for the past 15 years), which served as a landing dock for the wayward. The set’s plangent lines offered startling juxtaposition to the collection’s repeated motif of deploying haphazard layers that paired together smooth outerwear with printed button-ups, lush embroidered velvet dresses, brocade frocks, and more.
It’s hard to pinpoint what made the mathematics of these colliding, clashing surfaces veer toward the magical, but the wonderful thing about Prada is the brand’s constant sense of mystery.
For inspiration, Prada lept between worlds, from ship to shore, and everywhere in between. There were boudoir corsets worn over prep school jackets, plump safari jackets paired with old-fashioned wallpaper patterns embroidered onto silky surfaces, Hawaiian hibiscus-print shirts worn with leather maxi coats trimmed with fur – the contrasts were legion. Included in this complicated line-up of textured mash-ups and pattern-pairings were luxe plaid jackets, quilted parkas, and transparent floral dresses that spoke to both winter and spring styles. Prada had in mind a global traveler, after all, and these ensembles befit her trans-seasonal attitude.
The industry is currently obsessed with the “magpie-effect” of compiling an ensemble out of multiple textiles, patterns, charms, and decorative elements, but Prada’s version felt riskier, and therefore, more ingenious. It’s hard to pinpoint what made the mathematics of these colliding, clashing surfaces veer toward the magical, but the wonderful thing about Prada is the brand’s constant sense of mystery.