Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons continue to flex their ever relevant design sensibilities and technical sophistication as the seasons continue their rush forward. It is this cool, je ne sais quoi that has given Prada an inarticulable edge in past years. The Prada ideal is not hyper-contemporary, nor is it nostalgic; it resuscitates references from a particular fashion and culture archive in the articulation of a modern look. The house’s new collection, Prada Choices, interrogates the curatorial and creative processes of designing, pulling familiar silhouettes and patterns into new, perplexingly eclectic, yet subtly harmonious assemblages. Context is everything.
Prada’s unique leadership structure has created the provisions for two co-creative directors to steer the brand. With storied careers already behind them, Simons and Prada continue to collaboratively push the brand’s relevance forward. For their Spring/Summer 2023 collection, the pair presented a freshly minted line of reworked classics in the Deposito at Fondazione Prada, Milan. Miuccia Prada has spoken about her focus on the concept rather than the aesthetic look of a program, Prada Choices seems to directly confront this approach to fashion.

Material and silhouette design leitmotifs work their way through the parade as models paced down the runway to a full track list of Sonic Youth. Cuban heeled cowboy boots, ostensibly a pull from Raf Simons’s archive, anchor most of the evening’s looks. Black, double-zip, leather shorts, boxer length, are first paired with a single bodied, leather vest, belted at the waist. As the show progresses, they are found layered in increasingly complex outfits. Colour is first introduced as a complicating factor. The first vest silhouette, this time in white, is immediately presented again paired with the heeled boots. A further elaboration of the first look is found a couple moments later, yet this time, the initial vest body is presented with full length sleeves, and the model carried an unstructured black leather bag. The cross-chest seam, high waisted belting, and boxy torso remain, yet the shorts gain a new, harsher inflection in this less boyish look.

Miuccia Prada’s eclectic approaches to colouration and pattern are found with the tenth look. The show is playfully elegant, elements are introduced only to be removed in following looks. A series of Canadian tuxedos permute cut and finish. Straight legged jeans are followed by denim shorts as the initial jean jacket alternates between collared and collarless. Prada Choices plays within this logic throughout the show. The Vichy check upon the sparsely decorated show space’s paper curtains finds several pallets in the collection’s jackets and shirting and is also accompanied by contrasting plaid patterns. Prada’s staple suiting is presented in this playful, experimental manner, working between breasts and colour, alternating exposed and hidden buttons. Overall, the collection is fresh and youthful while also deeply mature and restrained. It seems that Prada and Simons have found a rhythm and will continue to synergistically approach a storied house’s legacy with iconoclastic respect.
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