Sometimes spectacle is overrated. Designers, especially new ones, go to great lengths to stand out from the crowd, confecting clothes that may arouse the internet but inspire little to no introspection. This is something Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons know well and have typically steered clear from; their privileged positions allow room for subtlety and nuance, and they know a quiet design can generate a seismic reaction. Unsurprising, then, that they resurrected humble uniforms to create clothes with purpose, value-laden with care, utility and meaning.
No frills. As Miuccia Prada put it: “mainly what I care about now is to give importance to what is modest, to value modest jobs, simple jobs, and not only extreme beauty or glamour.” Together with Simons, she reified that vision in a stripped-back collection that adapted nursing scrubs and military uniforms to ground Prada’s ready-to-wear clothes in the everyday. That meant reworking nurse whites into ankle-length dresses, some versions with mock-necks and pockets and others with collars and buttons down their middle, set all the way to the floor. Khaki parkas, evoking the army, were Prada-fied — especially one shown with a pencil skirt and cropped at the waist — while shirts and ties in army green and brown paid homage to military uniforms, tucked into paper bag trousers and accented with military-style epaulettes.
The remainder of the collection leaned into our innermost needs and wants from this holy pairing. Perfectly proportioned cashmere sweaters combined with crisp-white pencil skirts and minis with floral embellishments; oversized blazer-jacket hybrids in patent and pebbled leather; puffed skirts and printed dresses. Plus, most pieces were rendered in a muted palette suitable for every day, infused with pops of signature Simons brights, including fire truck red and sunshine yellow and hints of pale pink reminiscent of the designer’s days at Dior.
It must feel equally comforting and rewarding to bounce ideas between visionaries on equal footing; to exercise restraint without the pressure felt by countless others to be heard. This collection operated at a lower decibel, intentionally so and to great effect, resonating from Milan to other corners of the globe and engendering feverish enthusiasm, yes, but also contemplation.