On Friday, for the first time in fashion history, a ready-to-wear collection was showcased simultaneously on catwalks in two separate cities when Prada unveiled its spring 2022 women’s lineup in Milan and Shanghai concurrently.
At the Fondazione Prada, located in the brand’s hometown, guests were seated in small groups on multilevel gray plinths facing screens where the Shanghai show was livestreamed.
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“Doing these shows simultaneously demonstrates a new possibility — that a Prada show can happen anywhere,” said Prada co-creative director Raf Simons. “It’s about sharing — not just sharing imagery, not just sharing through technology, but sharing a physical event. Community is a vital idea: drawing together people who share ideologies, values and beliefs.”
The event format not only demonstrated the company’s financial muscle — producing two shows and two collections is certainly no small, or inexpensive, feat — but also highlighted Prada’s understanding of the importance of luxury brands breaking new boundaries to engage with a worldwide community.
As for the collection, Miuccia Prada and Simons questioned how traditionally dressy garments with a historic value — including evening gowns with trains and corsets — can be relevant for modern women who want to feel seductive.
“We thought of words like elegant — but this feels so old-fashioned. Really, it’s about a language of seduction that always leads back to the body,” said Prada. “Using these ideas, these references to historical pieces, this collection is an investigation of what they mean today, what seduction means. Why are these ideas still important, after hundreds of years? We are exploring those ideas, and confronting them.”
In a world where formal and casual blend, Prada and Simons tweaked and twisted classics in their search for a new and cool sophistication.
In keeping with the strategy they’ve embraced since the beginning of their professional marriage, the designers showcased variations on a few specific styles and silhouettes.
This season, the hot items included Miuccia-minimal satin mini skirts featuring long trains, paired with very Raf leather jackets cut in different silhouettes, from bombers to blazers; gathered mididresses, very bon ton on the front and sexy on the back courtesy of high slits; sweaters with incorporated bras for an instant lifting effect; tops and shirts with a paper-like feel and corsetry-inspired laced-up details, and knitted rompers that linked back to the men’s collection presented in June.
“Trains, corsets, evening gowns. These things that are historically beautiful — they are interesting, but we want to disturb them. An evening gown, however beautiful, feels like such an irreality,” Simons explained. “We want to make them feel relevant for the 21st century, for women now. We want to enjoy beauty, but in a way that is not about the past. It is about today. These clothes can become complicated: evening dresses, historical costume. We wanted to make it uncomplicated, easy. That feels modern.”
Easiness is a concept that over the past few seasons the two designers have referenced a lot and this collection felt immediate, fresh, certainly uncomplicated, but still charming, and appealing. Surely, there might be some that feel a bit nostalgic for the multifaceted, intellectual and visual flamboyance of the past, but Prada and Simons are not really looking back. They seem very focused on finding out what’s relevant today, without renouncing creativity and edginess.
Launch Gallery: Prada RTW Spring 2022