Scarlett Conlon finds Prada is melding officewear and the outdoors in its latest collections.
Standard office attire is not often associated with outdoors gear, aside from a trusty anorak worn over a suit for the commute. Yet in Prada’s autumn/winter menswear collection, shown in Milan recently, the two were pitched as emphatically non-mutually exclusive.
"We don’t want to think that these are clothes to wear to the office or these are the clothes you wear in nature," said the company’s co-creative director Raf Simons, who joined Miuccia Prada at the helm in 2020. "We want to try to disturb [the] other and come to something contemporary."
This idea manifested in sharp suiting and brightly coloured fine knitwear worn alongside all-weather trenches and chunky tweed workwear coats. The outdoors stimuli also took the pair in a maritime direction, with double-breasted sheepskin coats with gold buttons and jacquard caps befitting a ship’s captain.
The famous Prada sets, designed for each show by Rotterdam-based architectural thinktank AMO, played its usual part in the messaging. This season, guests walked through a drab carpeted office space featuring desktop computers in clean-desk-policy office pods, before entering the recycled Perspex catwalk, beneath which was a living forest floor complete with a trickling spring. The seating consisted of oscillating office chairs – the non-ergonomic kind that are bought on bulk order from Staples.
"Most people’s screensavers are nature [as they] sit in these synthetic human-made environments," said Simons, highlighting the instinctive human need to be attached to nature and the outdoors. In turn, these clothes are designed to respond to "disparate and distinct environments, interior and exterior", the show notes said. "There is a sense of the outdoors, of the actuality of nature, and direct expression of the desire to go outside, to experience the world."
While Simons’ and Prada’s explanation of the inspiration behind their collections can sometimes border on the esoteric, this was in fact a collection that did what they said it did, ticking both the indoors and outdoors boxes with broad appeal. — Guardian