Miuccia Prada's "feminist" fashion collection defies seasonal conventions
Prada's "radical" Spring Summer 2014 collection referencing themes of femininity and power has scooped the top prize in the fashion category at Designs of the Year 2014.
Italian designer Miuccia Prada, commissioned a series of artists, including El Mac, Mesa, Gabriel Specter, Stinkfish, Jeanne Detallante and Pierre Mornet, to create large murals for the exhibition space in Milan used to host Prada's catwalk shows.
The artists were asked to "engage themes of femininity, representation, power, and multiplicity", creating the context for a collection that was inspired by the Italian designer's personal approach to feminist politics.
Images from the murals were repeated on clothes in classic sportswear silhouettes, with faces and graphic prints used across simply-shaped dresses and separates as well as accessories including a range of handbags.
A palette of khaki green, blue and black, mixed with bright reds, yellows and greens was described as an unusual colour selection for a spring/summer collection and heavy fabric choices – including fur coats – were also discordant.
The outfits were often overlaid with sequinned bra lets or jewelled panels, and the pieces in the finale of the catwalk presentation were heavily jewelled, but worn with the knee-high sports-style leg warmers and rubber-soled sandals that were used throughout the show.
Italian fashion designer Miuccia Prada told Elle that the collection was concerned with "women and the strength of women".
"We are here, we are strong, we are visible, we are kind of fighters… I wanted to give encouragement, to be out there," she said.
Writing on style.com, critic Tim Blanks said that the collection was the season's "high point" and described it as "a feminist statement that, in the light of the contemporary denigration of the very notion, came across as radical."
Vogue's Dolly Jones described the collection as one that would define what women wanted to wear this year.
"A really clever fashion designer doesn't just make you want some of the collection; she makes you want to chuck out your entire wardrobe and begin again," said Jones. "These were Peter Blake-style rainbow babes who made us want to climb onto their cloud with them, their feathered hair, bejewelled bags and rubber-toed, high-heeled plimsolls beguiling every time."
"By next summer we'll wonder what we ever wore before," she added.
The collection, which originally hit the catwalk at Milan fashion week last September, was released to the market earlier this year.