Prada’s fall collection was drunk on power

Let’s start with the euphemism of the century: women have an ambivalent relationship to power. The politics, social changes and cultural crises of the past five years, in particular, have made power horribly unattractive – emotionally, intellectually and even aesthetically. The Girlboss, the pop cultural icon of a woman in charge, is now a cautionary tale, and rather than control and strength, it’s vulnerability and gentleness that we admire or yearn for, at least in women. young women in the United States.

A woman who has no such scruples? Miuccia Prada. In the conversation, she quickly navigates towards her adoration of power, her attraction to it. She thinks having control is sublime and looking imperious is fabulous, even important. With that in mind, you might be wondering why she decided to make Raf Simons her co-creative director, as she did in early 2020; but, given her highly unusual mind, it’s more likely she’s so comfortable with her own influence that she’s willing to share the billing.

Monica Feudi for Prada.

The collection that Ms. Prada and Simons presented on Thursday afternoon was full of clichés about power. Remember: for Ms. Prada, clichés are not a bad thing; they signify that something is familiar, and therefore ripe to be turned upside down into something new. There were tall, padded blazers with slightly nipped-in waists worn with full skirts that had to use yards of fabric – a kind of power suit that blended the shoulders of 1980s boardrooms with the whimsical perfection of the silhouette of 1950s housewife.

Essentially, the collection was over the shoulder. It is the place from which the force emanates.

Outerwear, in particular, spoke the assertive message: bulky black coats with a heavy chain fastening that swept down the neck, extremely thick leather jackets and trench coats, bombers lined with sheepskin, and coats and tweed blazers scalloped with feathers and monster fur as emblazoned medals. Then there were those sheer skirts which, unlike Kim Jones’ dainty Fendi candies, looked more like sexy, bitchy pencil skirts.

Even the ribbed tank tops were, I thought, a co-optation of male power for the ladies: the old undershirts men wear at home when they’re too slobby or lazy to dress up, enhanced by the smart Prada woman with a small Prada triangle on the chest and worn with transparent pencil skirts. Essentially, the collection was over the shoulder, either bare (under those tank tops, literally showing muscles) or puffed up with padding, fur and other outrageous trimmings. It is the place, after all, where physical strength emanates.

prada fall 2022

Monica Feudi for Prada.

prada fall 2022

Monica Feudi for Prada.

Ordering women to embrace power, with all these aggressive trappings? In 2022?! Youhoo!

With those coats and all those heavy fabrics and accessories, and the green velvet office chairs the attendees were sitting on, I couldn’t help but think Ms. Prada and Simons were bringing everyone in for a meeting. business: “Please sit down, and we’ll tell you what Prada is and why it’s worth paying for.” The show notes described the collection as depicting “a Prada ideology” – a codified mission statement of its history and codes, a coming together to emphasize family values.

It’s a completely different tone from the softness, beauty and nudity – and especially comfort and casualness – that we’ve seen so many other designers adopt lately. And order women to embrace power, as a uniform, with all those aggressive trappings? In 2022?! Youhoo!

kaia gerber prada fall 2022

Monica Feudi for Prada.

prada fall 2022

Monica Feudi for Prada.

Part of the reason people are so excited about Prada is the magnificent nature of Madame Prada’s mind. Her brain is a dazzling one, and very few fashion shows invite the level of engagement and intellectual play that hers encourages. In fact, very little in culture invites the slow-burning discourse that Prada shows, even the weakest, inspire. As the late Ingrid Sischy said, when she replaced Charlie Rose and had Madame Prada as a guest, “In a crazy way, each of your collections is a kind of challenge to established ways of thinking.” (Speaking of men who made power unattractive, why wasn’t it Ingrid the show?!) In other words, Madame Prada asks us, or motivates us, to embrace vigor, intensity, muscle.

We ask a lot of fashion: to make us feel good, to make us feel seen, to tell us about the state of the world, to define glamor and beauty, and to send back our own definitions of these words. And why not us? It’s expensive, it takes time, it demands our attention, it dominates our social media feeds! But one of the best things fashion can do is inspire and even empower us.

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James C. Tibbs