Friday 21st February

| BY Claudia Croft

Prada: Ready-to-wear AW20

We were ringside at the gallery, peering down on something intriguing. The Prada show happened in a submerged, cloistered pit designed by AMO, part of Rem Koolhaas’ architecture firm, on a set that was first seen at the menswear show in January. A flat packed wooden monument mounted on a plinth formed a strange centrepiece for a show that Prada-fied classic pieces. Mrs Prada has spent her career fetishising skirts. This show took that obsession with the most feminine wardrobe icon to the next level. The opening look featured a skirt made from shiny black fringing that looked like human hair. Spookey. Another grey, wool midi was slashed to the hip and one pleated skirt looked like it was made from grey tweed ribbons that fluttered around the model’s legs emphasising every step she took. As always with Prada, there is strength and power in femininity.

Many of these statement-making skirts were worn with man-sized jackets cinched with a leather belt, or a Joan Crawford-style faux fur coats. Prada deliberately used fake fur to draw attention to the artifice of glamour.

Prada twisted her own tropes. She tailored puffernylon blazers into squishy, hourglass-shapes bringing a feminine curve to utility’s straight lines. One knitted tank top featured pixelated art nouveau flower motifs that looked like space invaders. Prada deployed visual rhetoric, to great effect. Femme fought with masc often on the same outfit. An athletic crop top and leggings were worn under a pretty sheer dress – as if to suggest with this clash of fragility and forcefulness that women can be more than one thing at once. Similarly,a classic city coat sashayed with western fringing across the shoulders. Nothing was static. Everything swished and swayed. It was alive.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.