Prada A/W’12 Menswear review

by Katie on January 19, 2012

Over the last couple of seasons Miuccia Prada has proven to be one of the most subversive presences on the Milanese menswear schedule, subtly prodding at masculinity through her surreptitious plays on maturity and sexuality through her oft astutely executed collections. She’s given us a lot to think about recently, which is why her Autumn/Winter collection feels like something of a rewind, treading over old ground even.

We’re back to the Prada of old, those turn-of-the-20th Century colours, the stiff formality, the restrained suiting. The only nod to Spring/Summer’s kitschy prints being some pyjama-style medallion motifs last seen at Dolce & Gabbana, which find their way from shirts onto overcoats resembling a gentleman’s smoking jacket, and the shoes – which remain as covetable as ever.

You can tell everything about a man by his shoes. Miuccia Prada knows this. Look down at the pictures from this collection and you’ll notice the chunky two-tone wingtips slowly morphing into something much more hi-tech, adding to the feeling of these clothes as costume, as does the abundance of covered buttons, an anachronistic affectation which instantly dates any garment.

This air of theatricality was underlined by the grand staging, and the Hollywood A-list models; Gary Oldman, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Bell, and Tim Roth, all trussed up in their Edwardian drag.

Coats are layered over coats, layered over double-breasted jackets, waistcoats, shirts, and even polo necks. Cropped pinstripe jackets, buttoned tight at the midriff, resemble busboy uniforms. Everything has a satiny sheen, and the main palette of black and grey is only briefly punctuated with bronze, cranberry, petrol, and a regal purple.

The primary subtext here is that men use their wardrobe as role-play, to indicate their power and status, which is far from a fresh concept and one which has been explored to the point of exhaustion. Even the standard textile ingenuity feels a little flat, ordinary even.

However, I suspect that Miuccia Prada is a long way from running out of ideas just yet and is merely biding her time, waiting for the optimum moment to unleash her next treatise on the modern male condition.

Catwalk pics courtesy of
Review written by Lee Clatworthy (@TeamChutzpah) for Katie Chutzpah blog

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