One of the most highly-anticipated shows of the season has just debuted at Milan Fashion Week -- Prada. With Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada at the helm, we've seen the house's menswear take a turn into the avant-garde as of late: Fall/Winter 2022 brought the drama and glamour as "theater and cinema as mirrors of reality" served as inspiration, while Simons' debut collection for FW21 screamed of the Belgian designer's boundary-pushing aesthetic, especially seeing it was indeed a Prada show. Today, for Spring/Summer 2023, Simons and Miuccia combine on their most harmonious collection to date, one that perfectly captures the formality of the house and Simons' playful, youthful, schoolboyish edge.
Set against an exaggeratedly-proportioned house made from raw-edged paper -- much like the material used for the show's invitations -- the collection immediately unfolded to a Sonic Youth soundtrack booming inside Fondazione Prada as a concession of tailoring appeared, muted in its choice of colors but undeniably exquisite. The word "choice" is apt, as the collection is titled "Prada Choices," as if the creative duo has selected your uniform for the season ahead.
With this in mind, it becomes clear to see that looks can be mixed and matched accordingly, dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Suits, overcoats, sweaters, shirts, denim, and leather dominated the looks; each in their own right a staple of menswear. But for Prada, these known garments became the topic of understanding the complexity that goes into creating them -- again, harking to the origami Prada show invites that opened to reveal a coat or checkered shirt.
By serving seemingly simplistic silhouettes, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons focused the eye on what's important when it comes to fashion: the fundamentals of dressing. Suits were puckered and pinched in the right areas, exaggerated on the shoulders and nipped in at the waist, while the fit of skin-tight knitwear accentuated our natural body shapes.
Throughout the collection was a youthful nostalgia -- shorts were all grown up in leather with metal hardware, overcoats took us out for a picnic feast of red, pink and blue checkered ensembles, while trousers drew closer to the body than usual and finished with a crop, nodding to times of growing out of your school uniform.
Speaking on the collection, Raf Simons said, "We are attracted to the idea of 'normal' clothing -- to classic pieces, archetypes, the garderobe. But the same garment in different materializations changes their language entirely; they function in different ways. Then mixing that with other pieces transforms it again. Every garment is simple, direct, pure, but there is a complexity to their combinations and context. The garments are classic, but their mix contradicts, making them exciting and new. There is leather against the body, then cotton on top -- there’s a kind of anti-logic to the combination of the clothes, an oddness. A combination of rawness and sophistication in these clothes is also important. The contrast of classicism and a spontaneity lends it a sensitivity, an emotion."
Miuccia Prada added, "The collection is about simplicity as a concept, as a choice. We are interested in the idea of fashions, in the idea of trends even and this is one. It was about clothes that people could really wear, but with an impact. That for us is fashion, now. So much that is the base is really a conceptual choice -- a coat, jeans, a suit. They appear simple but are the result of a process, of choice -- there are hundreds of coats, why is this the right one? It is a combination of a long process of design and decision, and then of instinct. It is a matter of style."
Ultimately, Prada SS23 offers you, the wearer, the choice. It's about finding your uniform, and understanding the complexity behind something supposedly simple. "Prada Choices" can be seen in the gallery and film above, while more Milan Fashion Week coverage can be found across HYPEBEAST.
If you're a fan of technical detailing, take a look at Our Legacy's Spring 2023 collection.