IT’S EASY to forget the 110-year history of Prada when the brand is so focused on the now. It’s steeped in history and craftsmanship but Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons have hesitated to blast what came before, but instead consistently reimagining key motifs and emphasising the new.
But for spring-summer 2024, the duo took a glance back to the founding era and how Mario Prada laid the foundations of the Italian House.
First known for its fusion of sourced unique items from Mario’s travels, that would later relay into his designs, the idea of objects of luxury (oggetti di lusso) was coined by the traveller and was introduced through his composite pieces such as vanity cases in precious leathers, home watches, and elegant small handbags.
Fast forward to SS24, and a bag designed by the co-founder in 1913 has returned in a reinterpreted form. Considered an evening bag with its hand-carved frame clasp, it loses its original silk moiré and now comes in Nappa leather and nylon, effortlessly integrating itself into today’s Prada cult classics.
But beyond the accessories that dominate the brand’s sphere, the clothes this season were more intricate and utilised a larger scope of techniques.
Metal knee-length fringes sat elegantly from the waist and moved like armour down the runway, and more masculine structured tailoring echoed the menswear collection as broad shoulders, tapered trousers, workwear-inspired jackets and even a leather heavily-pocketed fisherman’s vest made an appearance.
But that’s not to say it wasn’t still delicate and feminine. Silk organza dresses in a myriad of pastel colours floated in-between the darker looks, and embroidery in different swirl forms was etched into knitted v-neck tops and flowers were printed with fringes onto black shirts.
What’s most interesting about this collection was Prada and Simons’ wish to draw our attention less at the looks and more to the individual pieces. However, they still didn’t go into a lot of detail about the savoir-faire of these clearly thought-through creations in the show notes but rather wanted to show off what their ateliers are capable of.
Marking the end of three decades at the brand, close collaborator and design director Fabio Zambernardi joined the two for their bow, making for an apt ending to presenting the work and capabilities of those behind-the-scenes to the forefront of our vision.