Prada Is Back on Top With One of Its Most Subversive Collections to Date

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Miuccia Prada is fashion’s most subversive designer, and she has built a reputation on her artsy fusions of the banal and the unexpected. She is the pioneer of bad taste turned good, the designer who transformed hospital scrubs, golf attire, and housewife aprons into high-fashion, who doused all of it in hideous-on-purpose prints and cut her silhouettes so that they intentionally fit oddly. Because of her insouciant ways and contrarian designs, she has become one of the most copied designers in fashion. However, the past few seasons at Prada have felt like she was designing on auto-pilot, and the brand has struggled to come to grips with the changes prompted by a brave new digital-forward world.

Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

Spring/Summer 2019 saw Prada roar back to life, once again embracing fashionable contradictions and subversion. Pared-back styling aided the cause, allowing the clothes to stand on their own (the past few seasons have seen looks that were drowning in piled-on accessories). Prada’s renewed outlook might have recycled some of its own Prada-isms, like the silhouettes that dominated its Spring/Summer 2003 show, but it was Prada’s resource to mine.

Spring/Summer 2019 saw Prada roar back to life, once again embracing fashionable contradictions and subversion.

A classic Prada tomboy opened the show, wearing a studded headpiece, a black nylon mock turtleneck and bronze walking shorts. Unusual color pairings – another Prada-ism – went from blocks to prints rapidly, and shorts were traded in for boxy skirts. Still, the co-ed aesthetic prevailed. In her knee socks, leather jumpers, and double-breasted outerwear, she was a schoolgirl with an attitude, all business up front, party in the back (literally, as some of the looks featured surprising cut-outs only visible from the rear). When the schoolgirl was ready to party, she stripped down to men’s skivvies and topped them with a sheer, pleated dress – the ultimate subversion, or perversion, depending on your perspective.

The best looks came toward the end, with a variety of blurry, tie-dye printed skirts, and dresses embellished with naif flowers. The last look was the most rebellious of them all: a simple white tee with a tiny Prada logo on the pocket, paired with a chartreuse skirt decorated with appliqués. Where most people reveal their show-stopping final look, Prada did the opposite. It was cool in a way that thumbs its finger at the establishment – an attitude that Miuccia Prada is not shy to display.

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