Prada’s SS22 menswear show kicks off Thigh-Guy Summer
Short-shorts have been percolating among men for a while. Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons just cemented their position as the ultimate "hot vax summer" wardrobe staple.
All images courtesy of Prada
By now, you will have seen them; you may have even lusted and salivated over them. Thighs! There was that picture of Milo Ventimiglia leaving the gym in a pair of shorts so short you could barely see them, which ostensibly lit the fuse of the Internet’s desire for guys with bare thighs. Just look up #inseam and #5inseam on TikTok, where women are proclaiming to never date Prince Charming if his shorts are longer than five-and-a-half inches. It’s official: Thigh-Guy Summer is upon us. And it’s not just about frayed denim booty shorts (à la Harry Styles) and miniscule marathon gym shorts (a la Paul Mescal). Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons just took it to the runway, offering up uber-luxe, uber-short shorts in Prada’s distinctive retro-wallpaper prints. If yesterday’s Fendi menswear show was about the bare midriff, all ripped abs and abbreviated tailoring, today’s Prada show captured our infatuation with the deliciously fuzzy, indecently exposed bare thigh.
Why, you ask? Well, perhaps it’s because the last year has more or less severed our lower halves on endless Zoom calls. Legs, and indeed the clothes that we wear from the waist-down, are suddenly rarefied, exotic, and therefore highly erotic. Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons called their menswear show “Urgency of Feelings”. And nothing could feel more urgent right now than, ahem, the feeling of sex, as “hot vax summer” commences, and sales of Durex have risen in the first quarter of the 2021. However, sex — or even ‘sexy’, and definitely not ‘sexual’ — are not words that are commonly associated with Prada. For decades, it’s been the go-to for more of an intellectual sensuality, a bookish look that is more subversively bourgeois and Art-World cerebral than carnal and fleshy.
Now, the Prada look is about short-shorts with rolled-up hems, worn with slouchy vest tops, oversized blazers and shoulder-flashing cashmere sweaters, and bucket hats. Filmed in two parts, at Fondazione Prada’s red-walled Deposito in Milan and the mountainous beaches of Sardinia, there was the occasional heavy-duty leather jacket or coat for that textural, indoor-outdoor, urban-natural contrast.
Silky playsuits with drawstring waists were just short, simple and summery. As for the shorts themselves, they were almost like skirt-short hybrids. Were they boxers? Swimming trunks (the boys dived into the Mediterranean in the accompanying film)? Were they sportswear? None of the above. They’re quintessentially Prada, and by that we mean a questionable item that is transformed into fabulously desirable fashion. Expect calf-toning barre classes to be booked up this summer, and bottles of bronzing oil to be sold out by August.
“We come from previous collections that were all about technicality, machines, that reflect the necessity of technology,” said Miuccia. “Now, we are thinking of the opposite. Human, real. Our interest in technology came from its place as a communication tool for humanity. But this expression is much more direct.” In other words, don’t overthink it (ironic for a fashion writer to say, we know). “The notion that living your life can be a euphoric experience,” Miuccia continued. “Much joy can come out of something so simple: when times are complicated, we are searching for simple, direct joys. An innocence.”
Innocence? If the internet has shown anything over the last couple of months, everyone thinks short-shorts are sexually charged. “To expose yourself to nature, to go to the beach – it's freedom. It is utopian,” Miuccia added. “That is really a primary need -- an intellectual need, too.” Mrs P gets it. She really does.