Milan Fashion Week: Prada Lights the Way

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Prada Fall 2018

Miuccia presented a color-tastic, sport-glam slam.

Leave it to Miuccia Prada to reconcile the discordant forces that have been bubbling up on the runway this season — feminism vs. femininity, uniformity vs. individuality, darkness vs. light — and tie them into a perfectly imperfect bow like the tulle ones knotted at the backs of the necks of nearly every one of her runway models (in her own wink at the pussy blouse, perhaps).

But what else would you expect from one of the great woman designers, who had Milan at her feet Thursday night, when she staged her fall runway show on the fourth floor of her Prada Foundation art museum’s just-completed tower building, with a skyline of colorful neon Prada signs gleaming in the darkness outside providing endless smiles and photo ops.

The collection had all the big, bold ladylike silhouettes for which Prada is known only with a sporty, slightly disheveled remix — think a boxy jacket and full skirt in color-tastic orange checks clashed with an oversized, diamond-patterned sweater, or a black workwear jacket over a full skirt with flashes of hot-pink neon tulle peeking out.

Equally unexpected was a men's wear check coat with three-quarter sleeves edged in black rubber, a sky blue bucket hat and sleeveless windbreaker over an acid yellow plastic fringe skirt, and a bejeweled black tulle dress layered over a hazard orange fleece zip-up Prada Sport logo jacket and skirt. (Yes, even Prada is getting in on logo-mania.)

Footwear alternated between high heels (tied over the feet with neon climbing cord and worn with ankle socks, natch), and rain galoshes with neon-colored gators. (Galoshes seem to be the fashion runway’s newest comfort fashion craze, also spotted at Raf Simons in New York.) And bags paid tribute to some of the Prada universe's beloved totems, including the designer's chic robots and those famous flame-heeled shoes from a few years back, inspired by 1950s hot rods.

There was a lot of dress-up options for Hollywood's Prada fans Diane Kruger, Emma Stone and Lupita Nyong’o to love, all of them with an edge, including a pink tweed shift with floral print busting out, and a black sleeveless style wrapped in highlighter-pink tulle, creating a glowing effect that would make Dan Flavin proud. 

The thing about Prada’s collections is that they are never able to be distilled into a one-liner, but always multilayered and up for interpretation, kind of like a piece of art. And this season, the sum of the parts was a museumworthy masterpiece.