Prada AW14

Quite a few reporters did not really rave about this collection like they normally do a Prada collection. Tim Blanks is hoping for more next month. Imran Ahmed said on the SHOWStudio discussion that it not his favourite Prada collection, not having that ‘instantly recognisable piece’.

While the progression of fashion has been Prada’s game for time immemorial, this collection does more than that. Its focus on an un-fussiness that is decidedly anti-Pitti and new in menswear reflects a modern masculinity.

Everything was nonchalant as possible, where nothing seemed as clear-cut as a suit or intentional as wearing an actual jumper during winter (the omission of which did annoy but Bottega Veneta’s will certainly fit the bill) . Though, that seemed to be the point. She was inspired by experimental theatre and music, ‘A lot of Pina Bausch, avant-garde theater, political, mostly German, affected by Fassbender,’ an art form in which everything seems to have to come together in harmony, feigning effortlessness with much effort, but the confusion over what exactly it is is still there, is ever present.

The pants were cut long and stacked at the cuffs, like jeans with curved pockets and tracksuits with contrasting thin lines down the side. The colours and materials seemed to play the most important role in affecting a confident but gentle sensibility, with dulled blues, creams, navys, greys and greens on silk shirts, looking dressed but easy at the same time. Many blazers were cut to have  wide V-shaped chest with curved labels that are usually the most masculine, but they were cut loosely and most styled without buttoning, as if the were the most familiar things to wear.

It all seemed like a release from most polarising collections, which are either playing with gender roles or streetwear or ankles/calves but Prada has softened or taken away the almost always arresting elements to produce a thoroughly approachable collection. Especially, with the ties as scarfs, worn as if an afterthought. I am not sure if it reflects the growing numbers of people at the shows taking cues from Robert Rabensteiner and his style and if it does, it is because it’s a great idea. It dresses down, while adding a suave touch to each look.

I honestly think it made each look, as some may have looked to 70s inclined without it, and even though I don’t think she was referencing any era, a workwear and photographer’s theme seemed to come through in the two-tone brown suit (affectionately resembling a UPS deliveryman), and the quilted vests, long and waist length, like an appropriation of a war reporter’s bullet proof iteration. The practical reality of the clothes was never lost, which is where the new masculinity of the collection succeeded. It seemed like a casual version of Raf Simons AW13, which was extremely constructed even though this worked well, Prada has somewhat copied but added a more approachable direction to its theme.

The realisation of the outdated, sometimes caricature, glamour of menswear, and the need for a more subdued yet still individual man is the best thing about this collection, that is not easily appreciated. A gentle-man, out of the limelight yet still a worthy companion to a vivacious woman. Or not. Someone with the confidence to wear the tie as a scarf and not need a convention as a marker of their masculinity. 

Selected looks from the collection:

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