Milano. September 18th, 2019
Reduction to an essence. An antidote to complexity. A purity, a directness, an instinct. These are the source-points of inspiration behind the Prada SS20 womenswear collection. It is, fundamentally, a collection about the power of women over clothing, and of style over fashion.
An import is therefore placed on a manner of wearing, on the personality of the women inside, which affords a new plurality. Each ensemble becomes a portrait of each woman. The wearers transform the meaning, and our interpretation, of each garment. The impression is that of the impulsive, the improvised, an unstudied, genuine casualness, an implied lack of concern manifested when clothes are worn.
The attributes of past decades are incidental - they cite stylistic ‘tropes’ rather than fashions, silhouettes and shapes which defined particular epochs, such as the 1920s, 1970 and 1990s, speaking of a wider culture. Avoiding retrospection, here those sartorial signifiers are mixed together, in a constant state of flux. Eschewing easy classification, they become simultaneously all and nothing - they contradict, undermine and reinterpret. The women wearing them reactivate these aesthetic quotations, opening them to reappraisal.
Garments are archetypal and self-referential: each is a statement or outline of its own form type. The extrapolation of a single piece from an ensemble, its move from one person to another, automatically shifts perception, as does its juxtaposition with other garments. There is a sense of immediacy and spontaneity evoked by rawness, by naïve gestures and simple fabrics: kid mohair; fine ribbed knit; embroidered leather with a raw edge, easily tied; a gauze in silk. Brocade and gold are used as contrary punctuation, an interruption.
Classicism and Prada classicism: there are elements of a universal history, and specific components can be recognized immediately as Prada. Fabrications, embroideries, patterns, colors combined - fundamental principles, codes. These components emphasise an overarching precedence, of style over fashion - one that is timeless.