Present Perfect: Prada Fall 2014
It’s not uncommon for Miuccia Prada to employ foreshadowing into her menswear shows. In this case, we got a taste of what the Prada woman could expect back in January, when leather 70s inspired shirtdresses and fur jackets in jarring colors came into the mix of her unfussy men’s Fall 2014 collection. She called that Act 1. With Act 2, a more dramatic and sensual side is revealed to the Prada woman that is conspicuously readable as capable and smart.
The antithesis to Prada’s wildly ornate Spring 2014 show, a simple black silk shirtdress over a black turtleneck opened the show with ease. A simple idea it was, but made entirely sinewy by a silk necktie, offering a mannish, gender-bending edge in true Prada form that was prevalent throughout the collection.
Long, lean 70s silhouettes ruled on the runway, accompanied with oversized double-breasted blazers, their shoulders dropping off the wearer and squaring off the fluidity of sheer organza dresses, adding a sense of mystery to this darkly powerful show.
And in a season so focused on outerwear, Prada offered the most imaginatively commercial jackets in a sea of competitors: leather coats trimmed in jewel tone colored shearling played nicely with a complimentary sea of silk dresses. It was just the right amount of wrong.
Those silk shirtdresses also rendered a grand sense of sophistication to the often addlepated mess of oddly placed sheer organza shift dresses trimmed with thin metallic straps. They were an interesting idea, but realistically untranslatable for the consumer.
However, they also worked in a way that only Prada could get them to: they made the good stand out. Structured dresses done in wild 1920s Art Deco prints, with their thin metallic harness straps, seemed like a chic way to go in comparison to their sheer, often oddly trimmed in fur mates.
That was another important aspect to this Prada show, print, as it is in any Prada show. Like an intriguing conversation with an old friend, Prada’s seemingly retired brand of 90s quirk is revived for a new generation of people looking to dress intellectually. The archived prints that established Prada as a house planted firmly in the now of the 90s seemed almost more relevant today than it did yesterday. Perhaps that’s because of how much broader Prada has become as a brand. Surely, brand visibility is a good thing, but so many lose their identity on the ride there. Thankfully, Prada is a house with identity planted firmly on the ground.