prada does the monster mash for fall/winter 19
Prada revives Frankenstein’s Monster to explore themes of anger, chaos and humanity, and reacts to the nastiness of the world with a defiant show of dark romance.
Photography Mitchell Sams
Inside the OMA-designed fashion laboratory that is the Fondazione Prada, a theatrical field of lights filled the show space, as Miuccia Prada brought to life her wild experimentation for autumn/winter 19. “I was trying to do something about the simple, naked sensitive people against the tough world,” she explained backstage, “it was a reaction against the complications, the toughness, the nastiness of today.” While many of her contemporaries escape reality by retreating into their own fashion fantasies, Miuccia Prada continually confronts it, reflects it, and distorts it.
It was a defiant show of dark romance that shapeshifted from chic double-belted, military-infused tailoring to good/bad taste hammer horror cliches. Putting on our best Gene Wilder impersonation from the 1947 Mel Brooks-directed classic Young Frankenstein, this autumn/winter 19 men’s show burst into life: “Alive, it’s alive, it’s aliiiiiive.”
“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful” may have been penned by Mary Shelley but it applies to Miuccia Prada too. 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 sociopolitical 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. Here, she confronted the horrors of today by presenting her own monster mash-up.
“Everybody is getting so angry and I understand,” she reasoned. “That’s what I talk to friends about all day, and to people at the Fondazione, but this had to be a romantic show.” As the filaments that lined the catwalk flickered, the dark romance and tongue-in-cheek hammer horror signatures dazzled. “You have the problem of how do you translate what is happening outside in fashion without being pretentious,” she confessed. “For me, you can’t be pretentious in fashion. I am aware of all the problems but fashion has to be light somehow, so we borrowed the symbols of trashy horror movies. From Frankenstein to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and all those movies. Frankenstein is the example of the monster with a big, big heart who searches for love.”
While trashy horror movies provided fun-filled lighter notes that walked the tightrope of good/bad taste -- the lightning bolt shirting, the collages of iconic characters emblazoned across knits and nylon dresses, and the faux fur flashes applied to shoulders -- it was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein that provided the main inspiration. “There’s this idea of love, of this pitiful person looking for it, and of the human impulse to be understood, and not to feel isolated or betrayed.” With widening political divides across the globe, there’s a growing sense of abandonment, isolation and betrayal. Expect to see Pradaphiles unite in soft knits worn under suiting or soft cardigans worn over jackets, clutching multibags in a Miuccia-inspired monster mash-up.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.