Editor's Pick, Style

Prada reaches for the extremities of potential for SS24

Prada reaches for the extremities of potential for SS24

There are purist camps that alienate fashion at its noisiest, but the house of Prada is not one of them. For Spring Summer 2024, the house flips the notion of simplicity — proposing the potential that lies within excess.

There is something to be said about the collective shortening of society’s attention span. Ten-second video loops are now the norm and, perhaps too, the culprit. In vogue today are objects that invoke overstimulation — amply tactile, affluent for the gaze, with new details to discover and marvel at with each subsequent watch. All signs point to a level of future-looking dystopia where the art of simplicity holds no standing, and long-form is no longer appetising for the masses.

This dystopia forms the basis of Prada’s Spring Summer 2024 menswear collection — “Fluid Form” — masterminded by two co-creative directors who have been artistically interlinked with long forms. Raf Simons is best known for the depth he takes in exploration, while Miuccia Prada has long been associated with her affection for art and the cinema— almost akin to a shared, antonymous hyper-fixation that jars against today’s state of distraction. For the former, the themes of sub-cultures and rebellion have laid the course of his career, while the latter has devoted much of her focus to cinema — be it through the house’s Fall Winter 2012 Villains show or through the primary programming of film at the Fondazione Prada that she spearheads. When everything — including memory — stands to be exaggeratedly fleeting, how then can fashion justify its escalation of presenting shows and collections? It is in the gross excess that Prada Spring Summer 2024 excels at encapsulating and then accentuating the concept of ephemerality.

While it is executed in the house’s calibre of refinement, the collection retains much familiarity with today’s excess. Recall the slime that oozed to the tempo of the catwalk at its showing last June, then compare it to the objects that govern online ASMR clickbait. The runway’s futuristic and foreign clothes are innuendos — for the nauseating, frenzied, sensorial surplus that defines today’s ‘20s. Promethean black goo moulds itself into decorative hair accessories and incoherent, structured footwear.

Indiscernible florals begin to bloom into dimension, on the bodies of what were previously bare canvases of shirts. Elsewhere in bloom are an indiscriminate amount of pockets and ring loops, blossoming on gilets in faux fur, appearing as a cute nod to Mrs Prada as the matriarch of utility chic but plays out ironically and uncannily — because flowers and superfluity are frivolous, are they not?

Given that the cultural state of distraction contradicts the ideology of being intentional first and meticulous second, Prada begins with an antithesis — the basics. The value of simplicity is underscored in the collection’s opening look — an otherwise simple poplin shirt — that offers a relaxed lightness but still stays austere. A single layer comprises its make and is transformed over and over throughout the collection. It seemed to imply there is always cyclicality as crisp lapels were extended on occasion and then returned to traditional fashion, while distended shoulders deflated on cue.

If cyclicality and the birthing imagery presented on the runway are motifs for the human nature and condition that extends from the self to the garments and clothe, Prada speaks on the potential that lies within. Untethering themselves from stereotypes driven by much of the fashion community today — less is more, quiet luxury prevails – it is inthe birth of excess, on the foundations of simplicity that Prada speaks to the potential of nurturing both clarity and decoration. To some critics, to liberate is to bare all, shedding any prior constructs of what may be to instead focus on what is.

Once you are done with this story, click here to catch up with our March 2024 issue.