Milanese designers bypassed the line between the virtual and the physical Thursday, taking lessons from lockdown to create new collections relevant in a reformed world.
The most anticipated event of the week was Prada’s virtual unveiling of the Miuccia Prada-Raf Simons collaboration announced in February.
Their first collaboration expanded in their mutual commitment to fashion as a uniform, something utilitarian that gives the wearer the ease to both think and work. After the presentation, the designers joined the virtual audience for a dialogue, in which they responded to pre-posed questions.
“It’s a really strange situation,” said Prada, sitting across from Simons on socially distant couches. “It’s my first show with Raf Simons and instead of being here with all our friends in the industry and the whole community, we’re alone. But what’s really exciting is that we’re not alone at all. Now we are so many more people. At least that’s new to me. ”
Highlights from Thursday’s shows during Milan’s hybrid fashion week featuring mostly women’s collections for Spring-Summer 2021:
THE DIALOGUE OF MIUCCIA PRADA AND RAF SIMONS BEGINS
The collaboration between Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada would always be a dialogue between the designers – two of the most respected designers in the industry. Lockdown also turned it into a dialogue between technology and humanity.
Prada said she had always “tried to ignore” technology. But during Italy’s strict lockdown, which shut down all non-essential industries, Prada said she began to see technology as “a kind of extension of ourselves.”
The creations were presented in a short film of models walking through a canary-yellow draped and carpet-covered space, past a myriad of film cameras. Models clung to their chests, a protective image that is symbolic of the global violence during the coronavirus pandemic. The rectangular cover shaped the main proposal of the collection: garments as utensils or decoration, depending on the materials – nylon, fleece or satin.
The female uniform for next spring – a time far enough in the future to hope for relief from the pandemic – featured A-line pleated skirts, the kind Prada herself currently prefers in white, accompanied by knitwear, some with holes to reveal the skin or underlays. Yellow and pink pencil dresses bore the inverted triangular Prada logo as a breastplate, trimmed with artwork by Peter de Potter, a longtime employee of Simons. Waistlines were tied and hair worn straight and unadorned.
Simons said the Prada uniform is “ not literal as we see them when we hear this word, not army or police uniforms, but in fact true metaphorical. ”
The designers said their collaboration was easy – despite lockdown delays – strengthening their vision when it was supported by the other. “ It’s very comforting that someone I trust has the same idea. You feel better, stronger, ” said Prada.
In an effort for democracy in luxury fashion, everyone can access the same preview experience as fashion insiders on Prada’s YouTube channel.
MAX MARA’S RENAISSANCE
Max Mara gave Milan Fashion Week its physical position, with a catwalk show surrounding the porched courtyard of the Brera Painting Gallery, safe from the threatening skies.
The fashion crowd sat on distant cubes against Napoleon’s impressive bronze, while Max Mara gave a sneak peek at his feminine uniform for the following spring and summer. The fashion house said it was creating looks for ‘a new Renaissance’ while reshaping its silhouette for a world that needs to reshape itself from the pandemic.
Strict details were mixed with feminine flow: a mini tunic flowed into palazzo pants, which had to be disciplined by a tailored jacket. Blazer and trench sleeves were slit for maximum freedom of movement, or beautifully embellished with gathered crocodile detailing. The pleated sleeves and the back of the jacket have oversized pockets. Brocade quilting on the tops and accents on the sleeves added understated graceful accents. The bags contain mini bags and night bags.
The collection was rooted in monochromatic neutral tones offset by soothing hues of sage, teal, peach and pink.
YOUNG DESIGNERS HIGHLIGHTED
The Italian Fashion Council puts an emphasis on young designers, with 13 brands hosted in the city’s main department store, Rinascente, with both valuable floor space and display. Many of the younger brands are taking advantage of the hybrid events and the smaller crowd to host physical shows in intimate settings.
Simona Marziale gave a sneak peek at her modern MRZ knitwear on Wednesday, with layered looks of sheer knitwear over tunics and knits, and soft blazers with wide bermuda shorts.
VIEN designer Vincenzo Palazzo released an optimistic message on Thursday, decorating the catwalk with the neon message, “ Make Fashion Wonderful Again. skin, fluffy skirts made of wrinkled tulle and pretty floral dresses contrasting with coats reconstructed into structural pleats and ruffles. Models wore pandemic safety goggles and elaborate headgear.
Palazzo said he was inspired by the alternative rock he listened to in the 1990s, which he rediscovered in a box at home during the lockdown. “ When you think about it, most musical and social revolutions come from difficult times. Think punk and hip hop, ” he said backstage. “This difficult moment can spark a revolution.”