prada spring/summer 15
Gemma Ward returns to the catwalk after a six year hiatus in for Prada spring/summer 15
"It was about conserving antiquity," Miuccia Prada said after her spring/summer 15 show, which had editors on the phone to their offices before they'd even left the venue, decked out in pink-tinted sand like a desert. This one was a game changer. "It's the best thing I've seen in, like, five years," a beaming Katie Grand told Mrs Prada backstage before the question-asking predators threw themselves (ourselves) on the designer in an even more overwhelming manner than usual, gorging on their prey. "A confrontation and a dialogue between the future and the past—and craftsmanship—and what makes sense today," Mrs Prada mused. She had used more than thirty different brocades sourced from the nineteenth century leading up to the 60s in what was her comment on the looming extinction of the great crafts of clothes-making. "Craftsmanship," she said, one of her signature verbal colons evident, "How can you enjoy it today and make it possible?"
Prada's own collection was part of the answer. The brocade elements gradually seeped into what was essentially a women's version of the 70s coats with embroidered topstitching Prada showed for her menswear, stealing the show entirely in all their majestic might and decadent beauty. Decadence, of course, was a huge theme: at times the brocade looked like it had appeared from under several layers of something more modern, like you had peeled centuries worth of wallpaper off an old wall and found antique silk underneath. The contrast between old and new - classic and modern - created a tension in the collection underlined by layers of frayed edges or the perfect out-of-place appearance of a painfully modern jumper, or a plain vest styled over a fantastical brocade blouse. Prada referred to the modern elements as "tough" (a very dark colour scheme definitely seemed tough for summer) and said that it "started the modernity", referring to the tension between the opulence of the brocade and the subdued, demure sentiment of the more contemporary elements.
A dress and a coat in brocade patchwork summed up the conservation theme to precision as backstage, Prada reminded journalists of the importance of this season's idea. "The ability to do these crafts is going to be lost," she said. (Prada is passionately active in conservation projects outside of fashion, too, and joined forces with Fondo Ambiente Italiano and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure last year to support the restoration of Giorgio Vasari's The Last Supper, among other works.) But great craftsmanship wasn't the only thing making its return on the Prada catwalk. Much to the fangirl squeals of the congregated press, Gemma Ward opened the show after a six-year hiatus from the runway, and had reportedly been hidden in a separate room backstage with her own hair and makeup teams, to maximise the impact of the, to fashion, world-rocking surprise. And when Lara Stone closed the show - rung out by Kiss Me, the rock ballad by Psychic TV and PTV3, which scored the show - it only took the hysteria to new heights.
Text Anders Christian Madsen
Photography Harry Carr