Style & Grooming

Milan Men’s Fashion Week: The Looks at Prada

For A/W18, Mrs Prada revisited her favourite material and some of the brand’s most iconic prints

Black nylon was the starting point for Prada – or its “ground zero” as Tim Blanks put it backstage at the brand’s A/W18 show yesterday. When Miuccia Prada reintroduced the black Pocono nylon rucksack as a luxury handbag in 1984, it changed the label’s fates forever, transforming it from a humble accessories brand to a leader in fashion – a reputation it maintains to this day. The designer’s love for the material hasn’t diminished; in fact, it’s intensified of late, inspiring her to build her A/W18 collection around it.

Staging the show at the “Prada warehouse” on the outskirts of Milan, Mrs Prada debuted shirts and shorts made of the material; coats, hats, gloves and yes, bags. She even asked four architects to design something out of nylon – Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, Herzog & de Meuron and Rem Koolhaas. And, just like she did with her rucksack of ‘84, she succeeded in elevating the fabric so it became something more than just practical – sleek and, crucially, desirable. “I am in love with black nylon, I can’t have enough [of it] at the moment – so we did it,” she said after the show.

But black nylon wasn’t the only Prada trope that she revisited this season; we also saw the return of some classic prints: the flame print of S/S12, the lipstick print of S/S00, the rose print of A/W05, the black and white sea print of S/S09, the banana print of S/S11, the beautiful space print of A/W16, and more. But this wasn’t a ‘best of’: the designer fused these prints together, creating amazing mutant hybrids – the flame-banana combination was a particular highlight, making the fruits look like they were on fire.

This season Mrs Prada was focussing on “the industrial side” of the brand, but that didn’t mean abandoning its aesthetic side. “So many people say that beauty will save the world, but I don’t believe so. The world will be saved by intelligence and humanity and generosity – and possibly love,” she said backstage. “But of course the aesthetic world helps, a little.” Just like Prada.