I don’t know what makes a more compelling story angle: that Vogue Runway has officially eclipsed the boundaries of time and place to provide a published review of a collection while it is happening 2,500 miles away or that Prada’s Fall 2017 collection was basically a combo platter that had something for everyone and yet nothing for anyone. If you feel like that doesn’t make sense, it’s probably because it doesn’t.
But seriously, look at those clothes! According to Vogue’s precap, the invitations were handwritten notes — what a delightful gesture! The venue “was filled with a spectacular set of bedroom vignettes complete with sheets, pillows, and posters taped up on low tile walls designed by Rem Koolhaas’s firm OMA.”
Once you start flipping through the collection, it’s almost like you’re inside a pared-back, less styled version of the show Marc Jacobs put on last week in New York. This is thanks to the colors: burnt shades of brown and burgundy and red and orange, the fabrics: corduroy and deliberately itchy wool, and the accessories: shoes you could swear were once up for purchase sometime late in the ’70s and a reinterpretation of the newsboy hat, pumped up but slouchy — approachable for all. The difference here is that the ’70s ode is just one part of a bigger pie. The bigger pie standing as a solid metaphor for a fluid city where neighborhoods roll into each other while you’re blinking your eyes and no change feels too harsh. Corduroy suits and wool bras turn into sporadically feathered hemlines, patchwork coats and wool bras. Sporadically feathered hemlines become really crowded feathered hemlines, set on mechanically rendered wool, featuring embellishment and paired with more wool. There are some beaded necklaces reminiscent of quirky and easy summer dressing that manage to not look misplaced.
The shoes become incredibly modern, sandals and pumps set on black patent leather and studded with gold. Let’s gloss over the large fur coats and turn attention to those ostrich feather-lined hood-things that appeared on a group of the models. Wait, sorry, too late. The feathers are now on shoes. Now, trimming several houndstooth coats. Are those mukluks? More knit bras! Wait, that’s a flapper.
If it sounds like it’s all over the place, that’s because it is. But the genius of Miuccia Prada is there are boundaries tethered to her all-over-the-placeness. She designs within a glass case and lets her ideas run rampant through it, engulfing every square inch of the case, leaving not a single corner untouched.
I determined all of this from my computer in New York. What would it have been like if I was there?
Did I need to be there?
The jury’s still out.
Feature photo by Pietro D’aprano via Getty Images; runway photos via Vogue Runway.