Italian powerhouse Prada always brings its best and brightest with every season, and with creative director Miuccia Prada behind the scenes being one of the most respected and well endowed in the industry, you don’t expect any less… ever.
So for Milan S/S 2018, Prada took the audience on an exploration of cartoon-ish colours, bold patterns and the wonderful world of comics and retro-pop art. Following her menswear collection, which also alluded to the storytelling theme of a comic book influenced collection with shirts, jackets, pullovers and belts, Prada took to turning her creative space into something for the Prada woman too. The fashion world was invited to take look into Prada’s artsy world, lined with colourful illustrations of women in the alternating manner of manga and psychedelic pop art. Created by a series of female illustrators from past and present, the collection emphasised the important of female story telling and feminine strength in the social (and lightly touched on, that is) political era of this generation.
It’s always difficult to set the scene with fashion in a political and social sense – there are slogan shirts, there are memorable venue settings and even alternative runway performances that emphasis the walk, but never the talk of the ramifications of the realities of society. It then makes you question – how authentic and legitimate is fashion when it comes to using the runway as a platform for more social issues, or is simply a trendy ploy to sell?
Of course, Miuccia Prada is known for her extensive history of being an artist and especially as a political individual who aims to use her name and runway an expressive platform to create discourse and discussion on the perception and importance of women. It’s never just about the clothes, it’s always about the message. So with all due respect, there’s hope in the industry that not all those in fashion make political noise for the sake of it being trendy, rather, to make a statement on the elements of what the industry stands for – the power of feminism. Backstage, Prada had stated that she was “encouraging strength – to present women in a very real way. Good to be bad, the beautiful girl to things that aren’t so beautiful.”
For Prada, it was the expression of art, politics and feminism through the approach of a collection that both in colour, silhouette, structure and design, of a militant and proactive way. To present energy, struggle, work and ideas through clothes that presents beautiful, powerful women in a way that showed sophistication without gender stereotypes.
There was a moodboard of deconstructed tailoring, rock and punk, 1950s neon-lighted diners and crazy coats embellished with leopard prints and studs. Attached to some looks were newspaper comic strip prints, polka dot peacoats and flared skirts coming straight out of Grease. More feminine pieces to the like of bustiers and dresses were layered with more masculine backward shirts and trousers made the models who came down the runway to a mashup of Lana Del Rey and Sinead O’Connor more juxtaposed and ironic.
Prada is just one of those intellectual Gods that the industry doesn’t mess around with, because she knows what she wants to do, and how to do it. For Prada, feminism isn’t a buzzword to throw around, no, for her, it is an inspiration that aims to breakdown the still-existing limitation that women are put through in society through expression of the female psyche. It almost reflect the magic of powerful female comic heroes.