Prada Spring Summer 2017 Women’s Show

Given what’s going on in the world, the constant bombardment of bad and terrifying news we’re surrounded with, what role should fashion play in our lives? When it boils down to it, that’s the crucial question every seller of fashion is facing now, from recent graduates to giant clothing behemoths. Miuccia Prada’s reaction, this season, was to simplify, declutter, and de-intellectualize. Or so she said: “Instead of exploring the history of women, which I have for a while, I decided to take care of now, the present, and trying to find elegance.”

These were her words after a show that in some ways did strip back brand Prada to its innovative, recognizable foundations. The girl in the black tank T-shirt and black knee-length box-pleated kilt who came out at the beginning was a clear reminder of the ’90s minimalism of which the Prada techno-stretch uniform set the pace. But this wasn’t like a literal retrospective at all. There were many reminders of Prada’s taste down the years, like her permanent passion for a ’20s or ’30s Deco-graphic print on a lovely fit-and-flare midi dress, and her abiding obsession with tiny knickers—this time of the high-waist type the 1940s star Betty Grable would’ve recognized.

Still, what really stood out were Prada’s madly extravagant miles of ostrich and marabou trimmings on stoles, smothering envelope bags, fluffing up necklines and sprouting, Dr. Seuss–like, from sandals. Eventually, they got married up with the wonderful things in the show—palest beige-color lemony wrap skirts and dresses, chinoiserie pajamas, and stately wrapped coats, some sparkled with diamanté.

Is this a suitable, appropriate fashion response to some of the direst circumstances humanity has faced in half a century? Well, maybe. When Christopher Kane used liberal ostrich trimmings in his Fall 2016 collection, he framed it as a sign of madness. Fashion can distract from awful times with fluff, and that’s okay. Sometimes we crave that much more than the same old useful things. Emotionally, Miuccia Prada knows how to play that duality all the way.

By Sarah Mower

Prada Spring Summer 2017 Women’s Show