Author: MILES SOCHA Source: WWD
January 19, 2024 at 10:55

The collection had one foot in the office, the other in idyllic nature.

The relationship between town and country, but make it fashion.

That’s how Miuccia Prada summed up her and Raf Simons’ fall menswear collection, which had one foot in the office and the other in idyllic nature.

Guests sat on swiveling office chairs arranged in serpentine rows above the transparent floorboards of the vast runway theater. A few feet underneath them, a crystal-clear stream ferried autumn leaves across a verdant, undulating landscape of grasses and ferns.

It was a gobsmacking, discombobulating set that encapsulated the tension between our fluorescent- and LED-lit interior lives and the great outdoors. The concept was echoed in everything from the invitation — a business card backed with an image of reeds and water — to the styling of the collection, with swimming caps, goggle-like eyeglasses and pool slides paired with stereotypical office attire, all twisted in that inimitable Prada way.

The show did not deliver the exhilarating rush of fashion one expects from Prada, though there were plenty of new and appealing design ideas, including vivid colors for pants and twin sets; British-style country jackets with loads of swagger; super flat, slipper-like dress shoes that might end the long rein of chunky soles, and statement belts galore, sometimes worn in multiples.

Sailors, seen at Emporio Armani and elsewhere in Milan, also made an appearance in gorgeous shearling greatcoats with gleaming gold buttons.

“There were a million references. There was the businessman, the working man, the thinking man, and how does that sit with nature,” Simons mused during the backstage scrum, summing up the backstory to the maritime looks and the water-polo headwear as “human activity in relation to water.”

Prada, meanwhile, spoke about our “deep need for seasons,” a metaphor for renewal that has inspired artists for generations, including Russian composer Igor Stravinsky with “The Rite of Spring,” written for Sergei Diaghilev’s ballet company in 1913.

With its surfeit of gray flannel, handsome outerwear, and trim, but thickly knit sweaters, their collection certainly telegraphed fall and winter convincingly. The tailoring was youthful and mostly boxy for suits and topcoats, while trenchcoats came slim and tubular.

Among the Prada-isms were the trousers that fell somewhere between suit pants and sweats; the quirky color used for sweaters and all manner of bottoms, and the offbeat beanies, balaclavas and captain hats.

Silk neckties in plain, sober colors, which were dispatched along with the invitations, were another unexpected accessory, paired on the runway with typical business shirts. They were a reminder of fashion’s devotion to seasons and its cyclical nature – hence even formal neckwear, considered nearly extinct, has a shot at renewal.

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