Prada gets carried away with ‘mistake gestures’ at Milan Fashion Week

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At first, the wrinkles on the Prada blazer looked like an oversight. Perhaps the model got bored waiting for her turn on the catwalk, she sat on the floor and without realizing she wrinkled her outfit. A big mistake at Milan fashion week, where impeccable perfection is the aesthetic foundation, but these things happen.

But then there was a pencil skirt that had a slit in the front torn in the fabric. And more pleats, which, upon closer inspection, turned out to be sewn and ironed into place. “Error gestures”, in the words of Miuccia Prada’s co-designer, Raf Simons.

Twists, cracks and folds that suggested “pieces that have had a life” were reflected in the show’s design, an immersive temporary art installation by film director Nicolas Winding Refn in which holes punched into black cardboard walls framed grainy film and abstract. Fragments of domesticity: a flickering lightbulb, a sleepy walk up a staircase.

Deliberate mistakes, a triangulated creative collaboration between two fashion designers and a film director, and glimpses of film in the background of a runway create a mind-bendingly convoluted setup for a 15-minute fashion show. And this, of course, is precisely the point. Prada is haute couture for the kind of people who appreciate arthouse cinema and modern art installations. Intellectual complexity is as key to Prada as the famous triangle logo.

Models present Prada’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection at Milan Fashion Week. Photograph: Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters

The clothing itself was simple. Prada’s runway is always peppered with ideas that are borrowed for free by a much larger audience than the few who can afford to shop at the boutiques. Here, that meant wet slate gray broad-shouldered blazers worn with skinny pants, for daytime.

For evening, jewel-colored silk blouses were neatly tucked into elongated pencil skirts. Last season’s white racerback vests, a popular trend that began on the Prada catwalk, have been swapped out for the fierce simplicity of white shirts buttoned up to the neck.

Max Mara is a simpler proposition, for women who want flattering, well-made garments updated with a light touch of feminism. The French Riviera wardrobe of the 1930s—sleek wide-legged trousers with racerback vests, straw baskets, and wide-brimmed sun hats—is a classic summer vibe to which Ian Griffiths, the British designer of This Italian brand added food for thought by giving top billing to Renee Perle, whose kohl-rimmed eyes and finger-curled hair are familiar from portraits taken by her lover, photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue. “Perle is remembered only as a muse and Lartigue as the artist,” Griffiths said after the show. “But it’s her style, her presence, that really makes those photos. The idea of ​​a ‘muse’ is a way of dismissing the contribution of creative women”.

Griffiths learned about 1930s silhouettes from the best: her fashion tutor at Manchester Polytechnic was legendary designer Ossie Clark, who brought the 1930s bias-cut bodycon dresses back into fashion. late 1960s. “The style of the 1930s is very feminine, but also very modern,” Griffiths said.

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