Prada shows off its strength with a mix of ultra-glamorous and lo-fi

Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner sat in the front row, while Kendall Jenner, her half-sister, was on the catwalk. The resurgent Prada is showing its strength as the major player in Italian fashion jockey for position in this post-pandemic era.

Gucci is back in Milan’s fashion week after a two-year absence. Giorgio Armani has also returned with two shows.

Miuccia Prada is the maverick of this group and has said she’s tired of fashion history. Before Thursday’s show, she stated that she cares about the “history of women, and the history the people, not the history fashion.” A few simple Marlon Brando-style white cotton vests were worn by 15 models on the catwalk. The invitation was a pair of cotton pyjamas that had the show address printed on their breast pockets. The idea: A celebration of everyday, intimate clothes that don’t shout status or glamour.

Prada is a firm believer in contradictions. The show-stopping tailored coats with pastel feathers on their upper sleeves – which could be mistaken for a captain’s armband but can be made cocktail – are a testament to Prada’s fashion ambition.

The label’s retail sales increased 18% in the third quarter of 2021, thanks to a design partnership where Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons share design duties. Patrizio Bertelli is Prada’s business partner and husband. He recently stated that a succession plan had been put in place to transfer the company’s reins to their son Lorenzo within five years.

Simons believes fashion’s job is to “define our notion of beauty today”. This collection, which combines the lo-fi (cotton vests with nylon parkas and nylon jackets) and the glamorous (Kardashians with feather trims), was Prada doing its best job: using fashion as a mirror to the contradictions in how we live today.

There were many Prada jokes throughout the show. The iconic triangle logo twinkled at the collar of evening dresses and at the toes in shoes, while the skirt and sweater look – a staple of Prada’s greatest hits and Miuccia herself – was seen on several catwalks.