• Text Tempe Nakiska
  • 27th September 2016

Past forward

If there ever was a philosopher of the fashion world it would have to be Miuccia Prada. The designer is ultimate with a reference, but gives little away: her shows are famously lacking in any kind of notes or clues, preferring for her audience to interpret her clothes as they will. Like an artist, she sees our perceptions as part of the fun.

This season we were given a little more rope than usual: not just the clothes and set, but a huge film projection, which ran behind the models. It featured fragmented images from Past Forward, a short film by David O Russell (the filmmaker responsible for American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook), with whom Miuccia worked on said short. It’s the latest in the house’s regular filmic collaborations, from Wes Anderson designing a Milanese cafe at the Fondazione Prada art complex, to Alejandro González Iñárritu, who curated the space’s 2016 film festival programme. In the film three female characters acted out various intense actions. As to what exactly they were up to, we must put the pieces together ourselves (at least until the premiere of the full short film in LA come November). In the meantime, we have the clothes.

Where in recent seasons the designer has explored ideas of femininity, sexuality and gender tropes, here she stripped things back with a collection that put a future-facing Prada spin on elements from the past. The graphics rebooted those of the 70s, cast on oversized clutch bags and turtleneck or sharp-collared tops under secretarial pinafores – like a futuristic PA girl with a thing for retro. One look (32) boasted a top with an off shoulder neckline, reminiscent of a 50s New Look, only with hotpants instead of a full circle skirt.

Those little panties are a favourite of Miuccia and here more clever than ever, provocatively peeking out from under a top layer of fabric like a 1930s bathing suit. And that deco feel also ran through giant medallion necklaces, though that’s about as crazy as things got. Oh, apart from the marabou feathers sprouting from bags, flats and the occasional heel (Carrie Bradshaw would go wild).

Miuccia is master of balance, and here she flexed it with the upshot of less against more. The pinnacle were the simplest pieces – chinoiserie tops and dresses, wrap skirts and crop tops worn with platform sandals, harking back to the iconic minimalism of 90s Prada. With just the right amount of off kilter accents, it was one hundred per cent 2016.