Prada’s autumn/winter 2023 collection saw co-creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons honour the anniversary of the Russian-Ukraine war. An air of seriousness and melancholy hung over the show as attendees sat in an enclosed space at Fondazione Prada that was lined with concrete slabs and steel columns.
Garments were subdued in silhouette and sombre in tone, the muted colour palette of ash and chocolate further building on the ‘ugly-chic’ aesthetic we have come to appreciate at Prada. There were a myriad of references to first respondents throughout, from the modest skirts that resembled nurses’ uniforms to the abundance of military parkas and shirts. Several house favourites, such as cashmere knit sweaters, blazers with detachable collars and cropped pillow puffers, returned for another season.
The focus was the origami flower, which was everywhere. From being strewn around the show venue to populating many of the garments and footwear, this floral embellishment resembled details often witnessed in bridalwear and traditional haute couture. Micro jasmine flowers were embroidered and layered under a paper-thin veil onto several of the miniskirts—a method dubbed ‘standing’ embroidery—which added allure and elegance to an otherwise understated garb.
‘Pendant’ embroidery was another technique Prada incorporated, which saw larger floral appliques resembling calla lilies, bellflowers and liliums decorate the fuller pencil and swing skirts. All the flowers were handcrafted from silky satin and individually assembled by master artisans, boasting a tabular padded fabric stem that provides support and shape. Lastly, a tufted pattern consisting of semi-spherical organza fabric rolled together rounded up the intricate adornments.
With a classical score of ‘The Blue Danube Waltz’ by Johann Strauss layered with the funky rock tunes of ‘I Go To Sleep’ by The Kink, the result was a hypnotic soundtrack that complemented the garments and set. This collection proved that classy isn’t out of style, that minimalism can be innovative, and that Prada’s legacy is deeply cemented at the top of the fashion pyramid. And for the style savants looking to shop their latest ensemble, the abundance of wearable pieces this season would certainly be a treat.