Fashion
  • Text Jake Hall
  • 19th September 2019

style and substance

In the 41 years since Miuccia Prada took the helm of her family’s storied business, the revered designer has veered frequently between minimalism and maximalism. Recently, the former has taken precedent; a key example is the return of the Sport line (now known as Linea Rossa), comprised mainly of nylon basics with sleek, streamlined silhouettes. It should therefore come as no surprise that the show notes for SS20 opened with a manifesto of sorts: “An antidote to complexity. A purity, a directness, an instinct.”

Simplicity is subjective. There was no denying that the linen pencil skirts, translucent ribbed polo knits and boxy blazers fit the minimalist brief that Prada’s 90s collections in particularly were known for, but a series of colourful geometric prints soon washed away the monochrome. As the show progressed, linen was replaced by ruched, royal blue velvet; skirt suits recurred, but this time in more vibrant palettes: holographic gold, black leather.

Prada has always steered clear of nostalgia, maintaining an edge which keeps its designs rooted firmly in the present or, in some cases, the future. Visual references to decades past – from the loose, drop-waist flapper silhouette of the 20s to the thigh-grazing mini-skirt of the 60s – came thick and fast, but their pick-n-mix inclusion created an aesthetic that was distinctly modern, reminiscent of the way we all splice together internet mood-boards of old-school imagery. In this sense, SS20’s nod to the past had more to do with timelessness than with trend.