“When you’re a luxury brand, you can’t show a T-shirt,” Miuccia Prada declared after her spring show — a coed affair that may forever be remembered as the rabbit collection, given how that animal appeared on everything from crewneck sweaters to swingy snakeskin coats.
Yet a T-shirt — which can be a billboard for brands, beliefs, artworks or jokes — was among the starting points for a diverse and thought-provoking collection that the designer described as “post-modest,” as well as post-industrial and post-Pop. Backstage, Prada cited a desire to temper the culture’s current imperative to be bold and impressive with something more “human and real.”
For the men, tailoring was the anchor, in contrast to the slouchy leisure togs dominating many other runways. Sport jackets, dusters and topcoats were trim, breezy and unlined, made distinctive with contrast stitching and the freewheeling way Prada paired them with risqué short shorts. Zip-neck racer knits and filmy silk shirts, meanwhile, boasted naïve graphics representing that long-eared creature, or race cars.
The latter motif mushroomed into pants and zippered blousons resembling pilots’ uniforms, banded or piped in safety orange and patched with utility pockets. The daring shorts — the more naked, the more human, Prada reasoned backstage — also came in leather, shown with plunging tanks or boxy, zippered jackets.
Both sexes wore quirky sweaters melding Breton stripes with rabbits, race cars, rockets, eyeballs and arrows. Yet the women’s looks were more cacophonous, and outshone the fellas. Prada splashed the offbeat symbols with punk abandon on short, glossy slip dresses and rompers with heavy chain straps — even her fetish pleated skirts. Some coats and dresses were further spangled, to breathtaking effect, with shiny plastic discs, which echoed the show set: an elaborate ceiling of geometric stalactites in clear fiberglass and silvery polycarbonate.
Everything seemed to rally against the adage that modesty is the best policy.