Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada were back at it on Saturday, delivering what data predicted would be the most anticipated show of Milan Fashion Week. Whilst we’ve seen the brand forgo some questionable collaborations in the past month, the duo returned to fashion presentations with a meaningful display of elevated workwear. In the press notes for the show, Prada made it clear that they are here to celebrate the return to work, calling it “a practical, everyday thing… every aspect of reality can be elegant and dignified.”
As hinted at in its SS22 show last year, Prada is here to make sure you’ve never looked better. At the office, that is. We saw the brand’s signature immaculate tailoring take full precedence, in an array of suits, trenches and pea coats that highlighted the craftsmanship of their construction. Elsewhere, thick knit turtlenecks, oversized jackets and blazers added a distinctly Prada-like flair to this new era of workwear. The overbearing shoulders of these silhouettes were counteracted by cinched waists, foregrounding the body’s lines through Prada’s considered design and construction.
Perhaps most prominently though, was Prada’s nod to the world of acting to mark this triumphant return to work. Enlisting a slew of familiar faces to showcase its new season, Prada seemed to be commenting on the occasion of heading to work – bringing in a cast of men who are often hired in roles which prescribe ‘normal’ jobs. Appearing on the catwalk, their presence highlighted the performative aspect of fashion and workwear: the world really is their stage, it seems. Kyle MacLachlan opened, and was joined by Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Asa Butterfield, Damson Idris, Tom Mercier, Jaden Michael, Louis Partridge, Ashton Sanders, Filippo Scotti and Jeff Goldblum, who closed the proceedings with a walk that quickly made the rounds of fashion memes everywhere.
We saw (faux) fur trim and arm cuffs dynamising conservative jackets, lightweight boiler suits in baby pink satin and pastel leather, as well as pops of colour (from shirts, boxers and knits) seen below dark, all-encompassing coats. The collection also went heavy on the gloves – from Goldblum’s thick black leather ones, gripped in a fist, to lighter colourways that matched screen printed shirts elsewhere.
From the office to the workshop, Prada’s workwear delivered both professionalism and utilitarianism. Any occupation can be high fashion – speaking on the boiler suits, Simons argued that “They replace the traditional historical shirt/tie/bow tie and give a new energy and reality, a younger attitude also”. Above all was the emphasis on longevity, classicalism and meaning; with Miuccia explaining that they wanted to prioritise “pieces that make sense; clothes that make people feel important and that are therefore, in themselves, important; not something to use and then to discard. Something with meaning, longevity, relevance. The idea of the classic is very important.”