Browse all

Prada SS21: How was Raf Simons' debut

A duet of fragility and eloquence

Prada SS21: How was Raf Simons' debut A duet of fragility and eloquence

There were those who, at the announcement of the entry of Raf Simons from Prada as co-creative director, had raised doubts about how two creatives so cerebral and elusive as Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons would find common ground. Today, their work at deux was finally presented with a digital show for the SS21 collection of the brand shot in Fondazione Prada and the pair of designers demonstrated the strength of their common work through a collection with subdued aesthetics but in which the individual touches of the two designers were clearly noticeable. 

The central element of the show was the gesture – that of tightening to the chest, closing it, a rectangle of fabric (declined in jersey version, sweaty fabric, re-nylon, embroidered duchesse, chiné taffeta) that represents together the modesty of covering the body, the drama of wanting to drap it over with a rich material and the usefulness of covering itself, sheltering from the cold. A gesture that is a reference to the previous collections of both designers, which can be found both in the FW88 designed by Miuccia Prada and in the FW12 by Jil Sander signed by Simons. Not only, however, a marriage of pragmatic and sophisticated, as is usual for Prada, but also a way of adding a twist to the silhouette of the forty looks that have paraded, a touch of anarchic humanity and unpredictable typical of Raf Simons.

And if Miuccia Prada has brought to the collection the concept of uniform dear to her, combining it with that simplicity so rigorous and studied that sometimes flows into abstract geometry, Simons is touched to evoke a vaguely post-underground aesthetic that materializes in prints that decorate clothes and outerwear (which break on the archival prints Prada to symbolize the overlap of two different realities), as well as in the love for strange forms. The concept of ugly chic theorized by the Milanese designer explodes in this collection like a shot with silencer, manifested in the shoes between the camp and the modern worn by all models but also in that simplicity between the raw and the refined that bears the signature of Simons who, not surprisingly, had made purple hospital uniforms painted for his SS20 collection – uniforms that have found a new tone thanks to the languages of Prada and they are transformed into tight blouses and straight trousers, as minimalistic as they are futuristic.

The sense of a happy but cautious start, the result of a prudence matured in long years spent walking on different paths, is also breathed on the catwalk that, almost by symbolic choice, was walked by models alone at its debut: new faces for new clothes and new identities. With the arrival of Simons, the element of restlessness and anarchy has gone to join the galaxy of senses and overtones concocted by Miuccia Prada over the past thirty years. A kind of optical illusion for which Prada's face is different but looks the same as before: everything has to change, in fact, for things to remain the same.