Photography Mitchell Sams

prada celebrate the complexities of femininity

Miuccia proposed her most fractured collection in years as a reaction to today’s fractured socio-political times.

by Steve Salter
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22 September 2018, 12:16am

Photography Mitchell Sams

Last night, inside the OMA-designed church to creativity that is the Fondazione Prada, the most devoted Miuccia stans sat on inflatable chairs dressed in a mix of archive and current season neon, nylon and print mash-ups, awaiting Miuccia’s next fashion revolution. It did not disappoint.

This season, building on the must-have popularity of reimagined Prada nylon and the relaunch of the beloved sport-infused Linea Rossa, Miuccia Prada invited a series of globally influential female creatives to collaborate on items crafted from Prada’s emblematic nylon fabric. A trio of leading female architects -- Cini Boeri, Elizabeth Diller and Kazuyo Sejima -- designed unique pieces that took us deeper inside the house’s ongoing fascination with contemporary femininity. From Boeri’s infinite combination bag to Diller’s garment bag dress and Sejima’s sculptural yet playful forms, the latest Prada Invites chapter added another layer of complexity to what was Miuccia’s most fractured collection in years.

“I’m worried by today’s oversimplifications,” she commented post-show. “Do you want fashion to be a hashtag? Much like politics, because politics is run by slogans. If you take away content and simplify, at a certain point you can’t say anything.” From “Brexit means Brexit” and “Take back control” to “Make America Great Again”, much of the world is controlled by meaningless statements. Thankfully, Miuccia doesn’t do meaningless. She used her fashion platform to change the conversation.

Why? Because Miuccia Prada has always been more than a designer. She’s a thinker, a nonconformist, a challenger of convention and norms. Before taking over the family business and revolutionising not only the company but the wider fashion industry too, the fashion intellectual completed her PhD in political sciences. She might have left socio-political academia to work at her parent’s leather goods company in the late 70s but her passion never left her, instead, it has propelled her to persistently probe relationships between dress, gender and power. From introducing the notion of ugly chic in the 90s as a rebuttal to Milan's seemingly one-dimensional presentation of luxury beauty. to showing men’s and womenswear side-by-side on the runway before anyone else, she systematically shifts aesthetics and the system itself.

For spring/summer 19, opposites were juxtaposed -- cycling shorts were contrasted with babydoll dresses, plunging necklines one moment, then collars and cashmere the next. “Breaking classic rules, I wanted to explore a wish of freedom, of liberation and of fantasy, and, juxtapose it against the extreme conservatism that is coming -- the duality out there.”

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.