Miuccia Prada did something she’d never done before with her show. On every seat there was a printed manifesto for the collection—or, rather, collections. (She was showing both Fall menswear and Pre-Fall womenswear.) “Gender is a context and context is often gendered,” read the notes.
She claimed that blending collections for men and women was something she’d been waiting to do for a while, because working on menswear always left her wondering how she could apply the same ideas to women. The shared aesthetic today was simple. “Uniform, severe, elegant: This is the fashion I like at this moment.”
The boys might have been refugees from Madchester; the bouffanted, eyelinered girls could have been fleeing Le Lipstique, Baltimore’s finest beauty parlor. Either way, as a manifestation of Prada’s ongoing “analysis of the relationship between men and women” (thank you, manifesto), their presence together on the catwalk implied profound alienation, even with shared style tropes such as strictly belted waists and double-breasted closings. Gender as a context, indeed.
It is typical of Prada that, after taking in a collection that wasn’t as stellar as some in the label’s longtime roster of winners, you still walked away with such a thought-provoking, destabilizing notion lodged firmly in your mind.