Literal is not something belonging to the Prada lexicon. There is always a deeper meaning inside every collection of the Italian label. Ok, sometimes the concept is hard to grasp and you have to twist your brain in every possible way to decipher it but that's what we love with Prada, this is not an easy brand. To wear the pieces you can see on the runway you have to be aware that you're sporting clothes with an idea.
This Autumn Winter 2017/18 collection is the direct continuation to the Men's one presented two months ago in Milan. In a setting designed by Reem Koolhaas, standing for the bedroom of an idealistic teenage young girl from the 70s, to the beat of a chaotic soundtrack reflecting the world we are living in, this collection cannot be defined according to one general silhouette, to one general feeling. Every single look is standing by itself in a very strong & assertive way. We are watching a journey of inspirations (among which you may find Fellini's City of Women or the 60s/70s spy novels) looking for the real value of seduction. An honest collection telling women to be true to themselves, to be the persons they want to be. These are the fundamental guidelines of this collection where Miuccia Prada pushes her ideas to the limits, beyond everything she has already created. It is all about eccentricity & femininity. A visual shock built upon contradictory ideas & concepts. A clash of prints, colors, time periods or fabrics for a firmly glamorous, modern & thoughtful seduction. That's why there is not a single type silhouette. After all women are complex characters embracing different roles & ideas.
The very first look of this AW17 collection says it all. The blending of normal & sexy with fabrics that are everything but sexy; corduroy jacket & trousers paired with a hand-knitted scarf with feather trim, a crochet bra, furry belt and fluffy/bejeweled slides. Undoubtedly, the Prada touch and the best way to bring sexy to the edge of normcore & irreverence. Look at Julia Nobis's look, the epitome of simple yet nothing but plain! She is wearing a crochet bra, corduroy trousers, the same hand-knitted scarf with feather trim but she is also sporting a baker boy hat (for the boyish touch) and a shell necklace (resembling the ones we've already seen in the Menswear collection). On the Instagram page of the iconic Italian brand, this silhouette is introduced by the following words "What are the tools for seduction?"; here it lies in this perfect mix of natural & simple elements with a weird yet naive touch. Nothing looks artificial or forced here. This is just another definition of seduction. There are just as many definitions as there are women. Miuccia Prada is on a mission to revamp glamour with the silk satin slit skirts revealing a large part of the thighs worn with an olive overcoat and knee boots; this could be the very look of some spy novel heroines from the 60s/70s, femmes fatales with a gun. The most interesting ones to be honest. Some other looks are perhaps less obvious in this representation of glamour; take Saskia de Brauw's one composed of a mohair twin set (an association that could quickly lead to a grandma mental picture) in shocking colors & embellishments with silk satin stilettos & a shell necklace. A wardrobe paying tribute to a golden days glamour with "classical" fabrics & elements (tweed, leather, flowers, beads, feathers...) but leading to an outstanding experimentation (for instance the marabout feathers dyed twice before trimming hemlines). Ms Prada wants to show that Va Va Voom may lie in the most common or unusual material. Lindsey Wixson's dress is another perfect example; a red "flamenco" slip dress in mohair, very sexy and at the same time, completely odd.
Femininity is not only a question of sexy or glamour. This is much more than that. The casting of short-haired models (Amanda Murphy cut her hair short especially for this collection) is another way to corroborate this idea. A very Jean Seberg pixie haircut to prove that femininity is diverse. Femininity is a question of attitude and self-confidence. The perfect balance (or should we say contrast?) between glamour & nature symbolized by the silk satin dresses worn with spectacular marabout hoods or by printed plastic dress with faux fur bottom, bouclé coats with coconut buttons. So many ideas, so many concepts, so many disparate elements all aiming at showing that these femmes fatales, these "super femmes" as they are called by the Italian label, are much more than "booth babes" on the cover of spy novels. They are seductive and dangerous but above all, they are strong, powerful and self-sufficient. This has always been the Prada woman's profile but this collection, perhaps even more than the previous ones, is establishing her as a cornerstone of feminism.
Pictures by Donald Gjoka for Dazed
Words by Yann Sackville-West & Charles Margueritte