The walls of the Fondatione Prada were covered in vast scrolls of black paper for Prada’s spring/summer 2023 womenswear presentation in Milan on Thursday for a show intended to explore the theme of domestic spheres and external lives.
As models hit the dim-lit runway to an eerie soundtrack, each wearing the same shoe in different colours, it quickly became clear: this would be one of the most subdued collections we had seen all week in Milan.
The show started with a utilitarian uniform of cotton tailored jumpsuits that were slim at the leg and done up to the collar (and more than a little difficult for anyone of mortal physique to pull off) paired with cotton driving jackets in diesel blue and tarmac grey that ballooned at the back and were clutched closed by models at the front; achieving a just-popping-to-the-shops effect.
“The clothes are about simplicity, with no unnecessary complication. Politically, theoretically, aesthetically, we are drawn to these notions again and again,” said Miuccia Prada in her show notes. “Yet with this collection it was combined with the idea of decoration, beauty, how to decorate and embellish, but remain simple.”
Sheer and see-through fabrics dominated another section, with the popular half-wool, half-mesh skirt from the brand’s AW22 collection reimagined for summer in all or almost-all transparent mesh. Ghostly white organza silk nightie-like dresses, long skirts and bed jackets with lace detailing and triangular logo plaques at the neck, a nod to the shows theme of domesticity, that had a dreamlike boudoir feel, and served as stark contrast to the boxy motocross leather jackets and skirts that followed. A series of ombré tie dye slip dresses slashed to the knee felt somewhat un-Prada in their grunginess, though decidedly cool.
Long trains had migrated from the mega popular satin mini skirts from last season and were now seen flowing from the nape of the neck on dresses and jackets. That said, the collection was perhaps lacking in some of the instant hit makers of the previous seasons- namely said taffeta minis with trains, which remain catnip among the street style set, and the white logo plaque tank, which routinely sells out online despite its £650 price tag.
Accessories were simple and strong. The triangle bag came in a doubled-up format in neon and pinks, and shiny 90s-inspired patent boxy bags added pops of colour to all-black leather looks.
Prada SS23 had moments of real strength, but was some of it too low-fi to really fly?