Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons challenged the boundaries between fashion utopia and everyday reality with a collection combining timelessness and trend hype.
The Prada SS22 menswear collection was filmed in Milan at the Fondazione Prada’s Deposito, as well as in Sardinia; in appreciation of and thanks to the Sardinian community, #Prada supports the MEDSEA Foundation in its project to restore marine ecosystems with the reforestation of Posidonia Oceanica meadows in the Marine Protected Area of Capo Carbonara.
Posidonia Oceanica is a marine plant endemic to the Mediterranean Sea, providing an important habitat for marine species and playing a crucial role in absorbing CO2 to help mitigate climate change.
Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, intellectual designers both, have come up with a clever response to these turbulent times: simplicity, joy and the human touch.
Their codesigned spring 2022 collection had a light spirit, and it felt honest and effortless, while still brimming with that edgy coolness that is quintessentially Prada.
“The world is so complicated — so overcomplicated — we can lose the essence of human life,” Prada said in the notes sent to reviewers after the show. “This is an idea I have been interested in for a number of seasons, and which we have been exploring in different ways. We come from previous collections that were all about technicality, machines, that reflect the necessity of technology. Now, we are thinking of the opposite. Human, real. Our interest in technology came from its place as a communication tool for humanity. But this expression is much more direct.”
According to Prada, the collection was very much about portraying the joy of the everyday. “The notion that living your life can be a euphoric experience,” she continued. “Much joy can come out of something so simple: when times are complicated, we are searching for simple, direct joys. An innocence.”
What’s more innocent than childhood? Cue the key item of the season, the romper, shown with rolled-up cuffs and presented in different variations, from solid options to printed designs, including a couple featuring irregular vertical stripes.
The collection’s summer vibe was amplified by the video, which combined the concept of human artifacts and nature. A red tunnel installed inside a warehouse at the Fondazione Prada in Milan, became a portal to the natural environment, leading to the sandy beaches and crystal clear water of Sardinia.
“The show represents a transition — between a tunnel, an urban space and the sea. We don’t feel it should be complicated — the story is pure, direct. A move from indoors to outdoors. After constriction, the power of that feeling of infinity, an endless horizon. It gives you the feeling of freedom again. It’s human nature,” Simons said. “What we are interested in is: How can these two moments, these two environments, fuse together? A contrast between the system of the fashion industry — the runway — and nature. We started in the previous fall show to introduce these moments of different behavior from the cast, and here, you see the models in another context, another environment, a different reality. You see them be totally free, in reality. It’s natural.”
The collection fell somewhere between fashion utopia and everyday reality. Unfussy silhouettes were repeated across the lineup, adapting to the urban or beach environment. For example, the romper became a metropolitan uniform in a dark navy version styled with polished brogues, or exuded a carefree chic vibe when rendered in a white cotton printed with sea motifs, including anchors, and layered under a boat-neck sweater with crisscross details.
The precise outerwear, spanning from minimal trenches and car coats in joyful colors to leather jackets with a lived-in look, anchored the lineup in an elevated, everyday practicality. Elsewhere, tank tops with squared necklines were matched with relaxed pants, while charming hoodies in surfer prints were paired with rolled-up short pants.
While Prada and Simons focused on simplicity and timelessness, there was plenty for hype beasts. The short shorts that resembled miniskirts, the bucket hats with the triangle pouch on the back brim, and the striped knits with a naif-like look were all items that will influence the season, at a both creative and commercial level.