Sunday 17th January

| BY Claudia Croft

Prada: Menswear AW21

The first men’s outing for Prada’s co-designers allowed us to see more of how the unique partnership between Mrs Prada and Raf Simons works. Explaining the intention behind their collection in a post-show Q&A session with fashion students, they reflected on how months of lockdown and the denial of normal social interaction has sparked a strong desire for human touch. “Tactility, senses emotion,” said Mr Simons, “Human senses, feelings,” said Mrs Prada.

These clothes were all about feeling. Every model wore a pair of comfy, knitted long-johns which came plain or in vivid harlequin or psychedelic patterns. On top of this was a fantastic, oversized coat. From the soft, ‘teddy bear’ boucle coats in lavender-pink, to smooth nylon MA1 bombers, sleek leather pea coats and enveloping parkas, each outer layer was intensely touchy-feely. And, while you could detect the influence of the Mod movement in some of the silhouettes, this was a collection that couldn’t be so easily pinned down.

Note the importance of the Prada triangle, placed like a tattoo, between the shoulder blades on many of the coats. Gloves are the new bags, with padded orange goalie mitts, finishing the look. The models navigated a series of contrasting, room-scapes, specially designed by Rem Koolhaas to excite the senses, passing from pink plaster to purple fake fur and minty-green marble.

It was, said Mrs Prada afterwards, a “Consolation of comfort.” She and Raf elaborated on their working relationship. The rules are simple. If either hates something it doesn’t go in. Fortunately, their tastes and ideas are aligned. They both see fashion as a tool for self-expression. “The game of clothes is a fantastic game,” said Mrs Prada. “It allows you to stage your personality,” agued Raf. “Clothes are at the service of your life and you as a person,” counselled Mrs Prada. Wise words.

Photography courtesy of Prada.