Prada is the new black

Floating dreamily over geometric printed hand-tiled flooring in pops of yellow, pink and sorbet, models cascaded the Prada Spring/Summer 2020 runway to intrigued onlookers baring witness the latest incarnation of the Italian brand.

The beauty notes were subtle – a red lip or muted smoky eye the most noteworthy uses of colour – and nods to the 50s and 70s were ever present.

This collection and its interpolation of trending it-accessories in the form of statement shoes, top handle bags and bucket hats can be taken as an indication of what the future holds for the brand.

In 2020 it will be Prada’s world and we will simply be living in it.

Honouring 1970s styles is not new to the fashion world. The resurgence of the era’s classic staples have been referenced in collections since late 2016.

It’s almost to the point where we might question whether the 70s dressing is still a trend or has simply sept into the foundations of what is fashionable.

At Milan Fashion Week, Prada became the latest label to pay homage to the 70s. But it was subtle.

For this reason – its subtlety – Prada can be noted for championing a balanced combination of trend-of-the-moment and understated, staple garment creation.

Block heeled pumps accompanied by tailored, vibrant coats and blazers were obvious nods to the era and Bianca Jagger’s essence was present in the intimate details: long lined, belt looped and paired in chic company with straight lined trousers or bias cut slip skirts.

It’s a rarity that a brand can experiment with a volatile trend such as 1970s fashion without converting the clothing itself into a thing of impracticality.

While fashion isn’t always created with practicality in mind, at its core a garment is championed by its wearability.

In the show notes accompanying the collection, Miuccia Prada states the runway showing is “fundamentally, a collection about the power of women over clothing, and of style over fashion”. The latter being key to Prada’s intentions.

By toning down the emphasis of a seasonal flirtation, Prada is able to capitalise on what is popular while also creating a garment that will remain equally as chic in years to come. And that’s only one indication of the brand leading the charge in 2020.

Take the accessories which accompanied the coats, skirts, dresses and shirts.

Top handle bags have become a staple in wardrobes globally over the last 18 months, with everyone from top label luxury brands to high street budget chains endorsing the silouhette as a must-have.

Quality, opulent handbags have been synonymous with the Prada brand for generations.

However, their latest offerings in this department will prove to be key in the predictable successes coming their way once the runway pieces are available in stores.

The abundance of textures utilised by Miuccia Prada when designing her latest handbags only heightens the appeal to consumers.

Basket weave combined with leather accents; woven slate grey, soft leather; and croc leather paired with yellow gold hardware are key examples that look likely to fare well in the current trend forecase.

The bags are crafted in a way that allows them to engage with the trend while remaining true to the underscoring ideology of the SS20 show: it’s about style, not fashion.

The inclusion of an adapted bucket hat is directly tailored to the bucket hat trend. Yet it seamlessly conforms with the rest of the collection rather than becoming the focus of it like has been seen previously when hyper-trending accessories are included in luxury fashion collection runway shows.

The shoes are simply a reincarnation of Prada classics but also feature seasonal intricate detailing on strapped heels and contrasting colour combinations.

The accessories from the show will only strengthen the relationship Prada has with its existing and new consumers through their ability to be fresh and innovative while also versatile and transcending seasonal flavours.

Outside of garment and accessories production, Prada is still able to solidify its presence as an important, popular luxury brand through its developing work in sustainability.

It’s a member of the Industry Sustainability Pact spearheaded by Kering Group CEO François Henri-Pinault, at the request of French President Emmanuel Macron. It’s a major climate commitment, which was presented at the G7 Summit earlier this year and has been credited as a key starting point for the introduction of more global CEO’s being involved in sustainability programs and pacts.

By taking such action – along with its Re-Nylon initiative that produces handbags out of recycled nylon fabric – Prada doesn’t lose sight of its younger consumer base, one that’s rightfully increasingly concerned with climate inacition from industries with significant environmental impact.

Prada’s artistic collaboration with film director Wes Anderson and author-illustrator Juman Malouf alongside its ongoing partnership with global modelling powerhouse Gigi Hadid also shouldn’t be overlooked when considering their prominence as an it-brand.

Anderson and Malouf bring a legion of independent film fans willing to drink up anything that bears their names along with Hadid and her army of devoted admirers. Such collaborations bring an additional dimension to the public perception of what Prada really means.

Prada was never a brand expected to make gaudy attempts at capitalising on current trends in their runway shows, and this remains.

Prada isn’t Balenciaga, Gucci or even Louis Vuitton.

For this reason alone, Prada can stand on its own alongside its fellow luxury creators and know with certainty that through its methods and creative direction, it has and will continue to stand the test of time as a brand that the industry will continue to love and love it back.

Each season brings with it a new iteration on classics while experimenting with trends and Prada brings a balance unlike any other showing.

Image by Rachael Sharman