Fashion Ideas and Clothes, Evolving in the Intersections of Life, Art, Cinema and Music
By Long Nguyen
At Prada, fashion is never just a seasonal collection but an integral part of the complex visual matrix of figurative art and the visual arts, music, cinemas, and architectures all conjure to perceive the human world.
In this collection, we play with the idea of the classic – we subvert it, we transmute it. By classic, I mean that it has passed the exam of history – the word ‘classic’ means there is something intrinsically necessary or clever about it, something meaningful. Often it is straightforward – through new materials, a different cut or context, something obvious, eternal, and normal – with simple gestures, it can transform.
– Miuccia Prada
She explained how the re-shape of the known and the familiar in the staple of fashion is the critical component of this new fall collection and possibly new visual senses of these clothes.
The grand intention here expressed in these new fall clothes’ incredible display is to shift the vernacular of clothes into the broader cultural sphere. Fashion ideas and their execution in clothes are just as important to culture as the visual and structural arts, music, cinema, and perhaps soon incorporate the literature realm.
Here in this fall collection, Prada and Simons deliberately morph together with the shapes and types of clothes to transform and, in a way to reincarnate them into a new garment. A black gabardine slim jumpsuit is now an elbow sleeve and a print knit v-neckline evening ‘dress’ or a black deep v-neckline long dress with intricate pattern trims on sleeves has a print mock turtleneck bodysuit worn underneath the long dress. A black and white jacquard cardigan is now a coat, and an MA1 flight bomber jacket is now a cocoon coat with bright red knit lining. Or this MA1 can be worn as a cape wrap as well, giving these once utilitarian garments a descriptive word not commonly associated with these types of attire – majesty.
The fundamental, integral idea of change – that intrigues us. Transmutations are the word we return to, in the concept of something that transforms slowly, shifting and changing, becoming heightened. There are many more contrasts in this collection – retro and futuristic, embellished and minimal, sports and elegance – because we are combining them, hybridizing them, creating something that seems now.
– Raf Simons
He notes the contrast of elements merging into new forms.
The universality of tailored suiting this time in men’s wool navy pinstripe has also gone under the design knife. The designers slice the long skirts into multiple vents allowing a bit more freedom of movements of the legs and allowing a bit of exposure of the body, an element not common in the Prada fashion vocabulary. Yet, these vents on the below the knee skirts do not flap against bare legs as the models walked, but they meet a pair of print leather thigh-high boots. The exposure here is an intellectual suggestion, not one in actuality, as that kind of crudeness would not have been Prada.
Fashion, now, also aims to represent another aspect of the visual world, but with a greater sense of conviction, bringing on the social-political-cultural changes of the day into not just the conversation around fashion but into how the actual clothes can say present-day life. Clothes today can be a statement about the comprehension of the real world.
A black and grey pattern short sleeve mock neck bodysuit by itself shows the marking near nakedness, but an orange pattern bodysuit worn underneath a straight-shaped pinstripe pantsuit hides the body.
“For me, the art of living. Of course, there are movies, there are art and music, and everything else. But, I find that to do this, we need to be present. Experience life on all levels because what we do is just one more aesthetic component of a beautiful life. It is like beautiful interiors and all of it,” Marc Jacobs said when asked about what is essential for him in making his fashion in the post-show conversations. Prada started last September to engage in broader discussions and exchange ideas about the particular show in question and style in today’s world.
First, the clothes have to be seen in a different light, view from multiple angles because changes in the visual and audio arts styles also impact differences in the styles of clothes. “Billie was a strong woman. I was nervous about asking Prada, but I know that she is an artist. I could not have imagined anyone else being able to bring Billie’s style to life,” the film director Lee Daniels said of the way he worked with Prada. On making the clothes for is the forthcoming biographical film the late jazz singer in The United States vs. Billie Holiday.
Elsewhere in the collection, the intentional alterations of perceived dress forms see other manifestations with the classic winter coat – a single breast wool coat first seen as a boxy coat in green wool, then as a slim column coat in light blue yarn, and finally as a series of dark green and brown entirely embellished with paillettes as perhaps an evening rather than a day coat.
Coats are the absolute strength of this collection. A giant double breast grey-pink faux fur, a black re-nylon and yellow or dusty faux fur lined oversize coat, faux fur capes, dropped shoulders puff sleeves coats in neon yellow or black wool, charcoal wool oversized double breast wool felt coat with large white buttons or the large XXXL MA1 wrap coats.
At Prada, clothes are never far from the sensory experiences. The wool fur boxes sent to the respective virtual audience match the light blue, green, or purple wool fur wall cover and carpet where the models strode with their chunking boots in black leather or silver sequins.
The post-show talks include the fashion designer Marc Jacobs, the architect Rem Koolhas, the film director Lee Daniels, the actress Hunter Schafer, the DJ Richie Hawtin aks Plastikman. The conversation started with a discussion of the meaning of the digital show and whether digital will remain part of the future show experience regardless of the live physical shows’ return.
In these two full seasons, the digital show experiences may have begun to sink in with audiences worldwide as brands seek better creative solutions to captivate the global audiences.
“It was not so easy,” Simons said of the transition to digital show as it presents unique challenges and opportunities. “How can you transport that kind of feeling that looked like a show, but it also is not just about filming the actual show. We want space to physically relate very much to the clothes and to the intentions we had with the collection – that is why there is a strong connection psychologically and physically of the space and the collection.”
Rem Koolhaas mentioned the importance of the space in the containment of the collection’s idea and that ideas for the show space are always in flux even when premeditated. “We have to deal with architecture because it’s the space we are in, we have to deal with performers, and we have to tell a story in a way a movie director does,” Prada added.
“You are so up close to the fashion, the clothes – more intimate and sensual than being in a space with people. When I make the music for this show, I support what the audience is seeing. You have those very intimate close-ups, and I have to sit in the background and support those moments and try to give the feel of what Prada and Simons are trying to convey. I work on the music as we are filming the show just like Koolhaas’ architecture also framed the clothes’ feel. It’s also about the space and the architecture involve – how the music fits into this space,” said Plastikman, the DJ music producer who works on the sound of the sound about the small-screen effect.
“The details as you can never take your eyes off the clothing. You are laser focus, not on the celebrities, not on the people,” Lee Daniels added in agreement.
But on the future of shows on the digital platform, Prada seems more open to the format.
“For sure, you can concentrate more on what you want to say without a public. I think it’s more difficult to create an atmosphere without the people. Before, it was like a promenade. Now you have to do the show and then edit and try to find out something that makes sense as a work, not just clothes passing by. I am sure we have to find a way to do both, as this should not be lost,” she said.
What is interesting in these conversations – unique in fashion at this point – with others and between the designers is the openness to different ideas, a continuous discourse between the two designers, and no absolute point of view where no issues are discarded without consideration.
The dresses, the coats, and the pinstripe skirt suits shown here for fall aren’t the kind of fashion for the gateway to a fantasy life, but it is for life very much now, as Marc Jacobs had mentioned.