Ready for anything. And open to everything — except retro. Those were among the messages embedded in Miuccia Prada’s energetic parade of psychedelic trekkers, who ascended a metal-mesh ramp in burly socks and glossy sandals, lugging backpacks dangling luxury tchotchkes galore.
Not since the launch of Prada Sport in the late Nineties has the Italian designer gone this deep into activewear, lighting up billowing parkas, Windbreakers and zippered rain pants with Stabilo colors, tropical prints, loud checks and graphic stripes. Her women’s resort collection, paraded alongside the men’s wear, was hinged on bubbly dresses with just as many drawstrings, plus sleek satin utility suits. For a dressy brand like Prada, it was unexpected, and felt startlingly new.
“I’m kind of finished with vintage,” Prada declared, in her usual giddy post-show mood, a lustrous navy parka tied around her waist. “This idea of traveling, sharing, joining different cultures” is what interests her now.
She name-checked Google Earth — along with Iceland, Mexico and India — and perhaps she had in mind the natural disasters increasingly unleashed by an angry planet for her laden models. (The migrant crisis could also be among current events still weighing on her, as she kept a portion of the set from her spellbinding castaway show six months ago.) “Bringing your life with you,” she said, flashing a sweet smile and raising a finger. “Just in case it’s needed.”
There was arch humor in the way she dangled pink patent pumps and colorful handbags, as enticing as jelly beans, from the backpacks or tote bags lugged by the female models. “In case you want to have a beautiful evening,” she cooed, and — poof — the normally relentless press corps ran out of questions.
For here was a straightforward theme, and an unmissable reminder that clever accessories are the bread and butter of the Italian megabrand, among the luxury players grappling with slower growth. The company also seems to be banking on its fragrance business, licensed to Spain’s Puig. Guests were funneled through a mirrored funhouse of smelling stations for La Femme Prada and L’Homme Prada, the new scents for women and men already hitting stores this week. Here was another not-so-subliminal message: Don’t leave home without a bottle.