PRADA SPRING/SUMMER 2020: Optimism, Style, and (the) Industry

Miuccia Prada called her Spring/Summer 2020 menswear collection “Optimist Rhythm,” an uncharacteristically hopeful message cropping up from a (justifiable?) overabundance of contemporary nihilism – environmental, political, personal. The Spring/Summer 2020 womenswear collection, titled “A Style” and debuted on Wednesday, is optimistic, too, this time about our relationship to material consumption, and the power of individual style over the fashion machine.

“Lightness, simplicity, no eccentricity” is how Prada described the mens collection, presented in June in Shanghai, where the Fondazione Prada has annexed and restored a historic early 20th century mansion to house its activities in China. It was Shanghai’s industrial heritage, however, that provided the context for the latest menswear show, designed by AMO and staged at Silo Hall – a converted grain storehouse and Asia’s largest silo building – in Minsheng Wharf, where models walked a neon blue “glowing enfilade” through the building’s raw chambers.

For this week’s womenswear presentation Prada returned to its command center on Milan’s Via Lorenzini – another adaptive reuse / industrial redevelopment, here of a former distillery. The SS20 women’s collection did, indeed, distill certain elements of the show in Shanghai. Much like its mens’ counterpart, the clothing suggested a return to the archetypal Prada look, after a couple seasons channeling 1990s club life with equal measures of playfulness and angst. In the words of Miuccia Prada herself, the new collection consists of “timeless clothes you don’t throw away”; according to the press release, it’s about “the power of women over clothing.” More style, fewer clothes, in other words – a message of pragmatism delivered this season in a deep and dusty color palette, 1960s and 1970s geometric prints, and elongated retro silhouettes that seemed to cry out for pearls, but were accessorized with seashells instead. Prada has called on personal allure to squash the need for material overconsumption; if you’re going to complicate your look, add to it from the back of the closet (or better yet, your rich aunt’s wardrobe).

A barometer for Italian fashion’s attitude towards sustainability, Prada knows how to speak of and to the Zeitgeist: this year, the label went fur-free and signed the G7 Fashion Pact initiative led by Kering, aiming to reduce the ecological impact of the fashion sector. This collection, like those of 2019, taps a youthfulness of decades past, yet this time does so somehow more romantically than futuristically – more “play dress up” than “play Joy Division.” Prada’s latest also plugs into the very contemporary politics of ecological commitment: the streetwear-inspired nylon bucket hat reboot from a couple years ago has, for 2020, been upcycled, appearing in Milan as a bohemian patchwork bonnet. (Prada’s iconic nylon accessories are going completely sustainable, too, as the label prepares to produce exclusively in recyclable EcoNyl by 2021.) Still, Prada’s activism was well-behaved on the runway, demurely contained in diaphanous white dresses, buttoned-up blouses, twist-free fabrics, and tailored jackets. A congenial ingenue, somewhat Hitchcockian but also a bit Wes Anderson, whose Fondazione Prada exhibition with Juman Malouf fittingly opened last night – and who is known for a capacity for whimsy in darkness, for conservative optimism in hard times.

  • Text
    Irina Baconsky

Related Content

  • Life Exists: Theaster Gates’ Black Image Corporation

    Theaster Gates' “The Black Image Corporation” presents photographs from the holdings of Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Company, a sprawling archive that shaped “the aesthetic and cultural languages of contemporary African American identity.” Gates approached the project as a celebration and activation of the black image in Milan through photographs of women photographed by Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton – of black entrepreneurship and legacy-making. “Life exists” in the Johnson archive, he says, just as it exists and should be honored in other places of black creativity.More
  • Deeper


    What are the best non-physical landfills for discarded thought? Do waves transition between naturally occurring substrates and audio signals? Does adrenal fatigue and replenishment in the human brain relate to cycles of euphoria and dysphoria in music? What is the mental effect of visual versus aural repetition? Is all music fictional? Can the language of objects and memories impregnate sound? Are bodies out of fashion? What is the music production equivalent to a green screen in film? What is the best non-physical preservation method for sound? Is film editing a way of ordering memories? Is repetition therapeutic? Are all films fictional? Have physical forms slipped into obsolescence? Did Erik Satie have an anxiety disorder? Is background music parasympathetic? Are physical players more virtuosic than virtual instruments? Is thought finite? Is physical music a fetish? Is reality fictional? What is the most elegant way to float between corporeal and ethereal forms? Do memories deteriorate and fade like audio signals exposed to the elements?More
  • 032c Cosmic Workshop Collection

    032c COSMIC WORKSHOP 'Omen' Hoodie

    Buy Now
  • Dev Hynes Collaborates with OAMC and Adidas on a Capsule Collection

    Under the music moniker Blood Orange, Devonté Hynes has spent the last decade softening the strident ego of mainstream pop with the wistful jazz and new wave tones, as well as musings on identity, belonging, and vulnerability, on albums such as Cupid Deluxe or Negro Swan. Singer, songwriter, producer, and director Hynes, who goes by Dev, brings his solitary sensibility to his other projects, too – whether scoring films and fashion shows, collaboration with visual artists, or, more recently, starring as the face of a capsule collaboration between adidas and OAMC, a menswear label founded by Luke Meier and Arnaud Faeh in 2013.More
  • 032c Cosmic Workshop Collection

    032c COSMIC WORKSHOP 'Morning' Triangle Puffer Scarf

  • New Arrivals

    Buffalo by 032c Jodhpur Ankle Boot White

    Buy Now