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The long story of Prada's relationship with cult actors

From John Malkovich in the 90s to yesterday's fashion show with Jeff Goldblum

The long story of Prada's relationship with cult actors From John Malkovich in the 90s to yesterday's fashion show with Jeff Goldblum
Joaquin Phoenix in Prada SS97 campaign
Garrett Hedlund & Willem Dafoe in FW12 campaign
Christoph Waltz in Prada FW13 campaign
Tim Roth in Prada SS96 campaign
Tom Holland in Prada SS22 campaign
Frank Ocean in Prada SS20 campaign
Ethan Hawke in Prada SS15 campaign
Ansel Egort in Prada SS15 campaign
Willem Dafoe in Prad FW96 campaign
John Malkovich in Prada FW95 campaign
Michael Shannon in Prada FW15 campaign
James McAvoy in Prada FW14
Ezra Miller in Prada FW13 campaign

Yesterday, with its show FW22, Prada reaffirmed the power of the ritual of fashion shows by bringing on the catwalk a cast of old and new film talents that included Jeff Goldblum and Kyle McLachlan, respectively in closing and opening, along with Asa Butterfiled, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ashton Sanders, Damson Idris and even Filippo Scotti, who had debuted on screen only last month with The hand of God. The show was quite an epic moment for Milan Fashion Week, and recalled Prada's FW12 show that had seen the appearance on the catwalk of Willem Dafoe, Gary Oldman and Adrien Brody in the middle of the models – a show that then went viral over the years like the outfits signed by Prada for Jeff Goldblum in recent years. 

And indeed Prada, including these ten actors, has winked at the cult status to which social media culture elevated both the 2012 show and Goldblum's outfits and bowling shirts – but the moment also reaffirmed with singular force the brand's bond with cult actors: a tradition that has been going on since the 90s, with the inclusion of John Malkovich in the brand's SS95 campaign, but also Tim Roth, Willem Dafoe, Joaquin Phoenix, Benicio del Toro, Cristoph Waltz, Ezra Miller, Miles Teller and, this year, Tom Holland but also directors such as Pedro Almodovar and Nicolas Winding Refn and musical artists such as Frank Ocean. All choices that, far from wanting to exploit the association with a certain star for the hype alone, always show an eye for cult figures of cinema, revered but offbeat actors and unconventional stars – something that creates a parallel with the quirkiness of the brand, which has always been associated with the art world, but also an almost ten-year partner of directors such as Wes Anderson and responsible for costumes for cult films such as Romeo + Juliet and The Great Gatsby. The casting choices of Prada's menswear campaigns over the years, then, especially during the hedonistic 90s in which much emphasis was placed on the physical beauty of the models, also represented the desire to represent the brand through less generic faces but above all less conventional beauty standards, as well as culturally significant personalities.

Tom Holland in Prada SS22 campaign
Frank Ocean in Prada SS20 campaign
John Malkovich in Prada FW95 campaign
Willem Dafoe in Prad FW96 campaign
Garrett Hedlund & Willem Dafoe in FW12 campaign
Christoph Waltz in Prada FW13 campaign
Ezra Miller in Prada FW13 campaign
James McAvoy in Prada FW14
Michael Shannon in Prada FW15 campaign
Ansel Egort in Prada SS15 campaign
Joaquin Phoenix in Prada SS97 campaign
Tim Roth in Prada SS96 campaign
Ethan Hawke in Prada SS15 campaign

In yesterday's show, however, there was a paradigm shift, with cult actors of the past parading along with protagonists of TV series such as Kyle McLachlan who, in addition to Lynch's films shot in his youth, found celebrities with Twin Peaks, Sex & the City and Desperate Housewives; Damson Idris of Snowfall, Tom Mercier of We Are Who We Are and La Corde, Jaden Michael of Colin in Black & White as well as the actors of Netflix hit films such as the aforementioned Filippo Scotti and Louis Partridge of Enola Holmes. The cast of yesterday's show was therefore more varied than one might expect: with the exception of Jeff Goldblum and Ashton Sanders, launched at the cinema with Moonlight and Judas and the Black Messiah, all the rest of the actors seen on the catwalk represent a trans-media category of stars, mirror of a world of entertainment in which the TV series, the Netflix film-event and the miniseries are as relevant as the cinema itself with a barrier that separates the different areas that becomes more subtle from season to season. At most, with the selection made by the brand with this casting, one could imagine that Prada wanted to ask who will be the A-listers of tomorrow, the new faces that will replace the generation of stars who after having accompanied the brand over the last twenty years will give way to new and other icons.