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For Spring, Prada Presents An Unexpected Change

With minimalism taking the spotlight, Miuccia Prada returns the power of dressing up to the woman. But, that quintessential "Prada-ness" wasn't forgotten, of course.

Diehard Prada aficionados will know that once upon a time, Miuccia Prada was quite the maestro of minimalism back in the nineties. The collection that came down the runway recently at Fondazione Prada at Milan Fashion Week, however, was not a throwback to that time. While it, on the surface, had something to do with that age-old “less is more”, Mrs. Prada’s intention goes deeper – as it always does.

It was a return of power to the wearer, or as the show notes describes, “a collection about the power of women over clothing, and of style over fashion.” What does that translate to in Prada’s lexicon? Pared-down ribbed, almost see-through knits paired with cheesecloth skirts and no-nonsense blazers, with the most striking details being two large buttons and thick belt loops. Dresses with next to no detail save for ruching at the neck, tiered layers or a ruffled trim. Patterned knits in everyday, everywoman silhouettes that can be dressed up or down in a second. Even the more “decorated” pieces were simple in their essence: a black leather skirt suit with white buttons and a wide collar; trapeze, one-shoulder and cold-shoulder dresses that, though featured swirly leaf motifs, hung effortlessly on the body.

For Mrs. Prada, it was about putting the women who wear these clothes, and how they want to wear it, first. Taking a step back with the clothing – the “less” – ironically gives the women the power to do “more” with them, where minimalism becomes a canvas for such stories to be told, where the women gets more options out of simplicity. In a time where the fashion industry is trying to find a balance between satiating cries for the new and placating the criticisms of overconsumption, this may perhaps be Prada’s answer.

Lest the attendees at Fondazione Prada forgot what show they were watching, Mrs. Prada did well to remind them. While the collection was pared-down for the most part, that quintessential, beloved “Prada-ness” still crept its way back in with heeled sandals of baroque swirls, platforms in velvet and reptilian green, metallic gold hats, pussy-bow blouses and suits, deliberately oversized or overly chunky shell necklaces, and, of course, Prada’s geometric prints. Oh, where would we be without them. Will Prada see this season’s sentiment through to the next and the next? Only time will tell.

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