Sep 22, 2012 12:38PM

Milan Fashion Week Review: Prada

Like a shot of vodka.

I had to mull over the Prada show for a day before I could write anything about it. It wasn't like her last few collections, which, for me, were like dark chocolate at the end of a long day (ie heaven). No, this collection was more like a shot of vodka. It was a little intense at first, but then it grew on me. Also (much like straight vodka) it wasn't for everyone. Post-show, people had mixed opinions and many seemed uncertain.

Seeing it up close at the re-see, however, changed my mind. In a climate in which most designers are playing safe, there are thankfully those who are taking risks, and Prada is one of them. The uncompromising queen of grandma chic, Prada doesn't do conventional or sexy, although the last few seasons have been a little easier to digest. And that might explain her line of thinking with this collection.

What's for sure, though, it that it was bold, interesting and made you feel something. Perhaps not happy, as the mood was very sombre — the runway soundtrack (singer Megumi Satsu) was emotional, the models wore stark red lips and hair swept over their foreheads — but it was beautiful, and the collection is the standout of the season so far.

Much like Marc Jacobs in New York, there was a nod to minimalism and this will no doubt emerge as a key trend this season. The palette was very simple: black, white developing into reds and a foundation pink. There were also Japanese references — with the metallic platform shoes and hoofed socks (Mrs P.  has always loved a sock and sandal), the Kimono folds and the padding.

The key point of the collection, we were told today, was femininity. It all started with the flower — a print that evolves throughout the collection. The finish on the clothes was important to see up close: the satin, was draped and folded and had hand-sewn details, and the flowers on the fur were carefully printed on. My favourite pieces were the simple knitwear — like underwear all-in-ones — and one look in particular was kind of heartbreaking: a satin skirt worn simply with a black bra and a fur stole that fell from the shoulders. Prada does do sexy after all.

Top photo by Alice Cavanagh
Runway photos via

Words by Alice Cavanagh