Fashion and romance have always gone hand in hand, but when you think of the relationship between the two it usually brings to mind spring florals and wistful gowns… Not Frankenstein, Wednesday Addams and black lace. But it is here that we find Mrs Prada’s version of romance, a dark romance, set firmly in the modern age.
As we walked into the Fondazione Prada building the stage was set with a square runway surrounded by hundreds of softly lit lightbulbs glowing in the dark room, it reminded me of the horror films I used to watch in secret when my parents were out of the house. A scene where Hitchcock himself would feel right at home. Loud, hard music shocked the show into action, as each model was spotlit down the runway leaving a haunting shadow following her every step. The atmosphere was heavy and electric, the perfect scene for a collection that is equal parts ladylike and goth, but 100% PRADA.
Heavenly black, black and more black walked down the runway with bright vivid colours offering a palette cleanser to an enraptured audience. Cara Delevingnes’ look was a dress with Frankenstein and his bride emblazoned on the front, 3D flower bouquets softened utility greens and black deconstructed dress & coats. The boots were high, masculine and heavy and the accessories were strong and striking. But, looks that might otherwise lean towards the foreboding were paired with elements that added a sense of light and colour. Think Wednesday Addams accessorising with a bright yellow daisy chain necklace.
I have been lucky to attend the Miu Miu show in Paris, and something that stays with me is the music and sound design, which is always ethereal and completely submersive. A long-standing collaboration between Prada and French Artist Frederic Sanchez, who himself makes reference to this collection with ‘The sentiment of contemporary romance encompasses the fantastical as alternate to reality’. And he really took us there with models walking to Marilyn Mansion, a string version or Gaga’s Bad Romance and even the theme from the X Files (I have no doubt this would be Dana Scully’s present-day uniform, Mulder would surely swoon).
I say this because the Prada Show is so much more than just that. The set, the music, the casting, the Hair & Makeup, the clever storytelling of the collection. As with Miu Miu, Prada takes a fashion week show and elevates it to something akin to a cult movie classic, something that people talk about and reference long after the event itself.
Mary Godwin wrote Frankenstein in 1818 when she was just 18 years old, but she found herself unable to be published solely because she was a woman. With this in mind, it’s not hard to draw a comparison between Mary Godwin and Mrs Prada. Miuccia Prada has always been a woman ahead of her time, who is tireless in the art of storytelling. You can make many pop culture references to this collection, but at its core PRADA Fall 19 RTW is Miuccia Prada’s showcase of the world around her, she herself states ‘it was about romance, but romance and fear’.
For me, this is a reflection of the true anatomy of romance – bad and good, light and dark, a monster with a heart of gold. As the saying goes ‘the truth is out there’… I just so happened to have found it in Milan at the Fondazione Prada.. x