Fashion: Sunday evening witnessed a most curiously schizophrenic collection by Prada in Milan's season of fall 2008 men's collections.
The central new garment was a minimalist harness/strait jacket that wrapped around torsos in half the looks; collars and bowties came in pairs; and young men wore mini skirts, ruffled, five inch deep over pants. We even got a series of jock straps in patent leather that reached up way above pant waists.
One could argue that these were all accessories, and styling tricks. But the garments themselves had a mournful air: while Prada's slickly cut suits looked cut for horror movie henchmen.
There were lots of great items - steel threaded double colored stripe shirts; black silk plenipotentiary pants; faded mad scientist two tone shoes, dandified mohair Rude Boy suits, yet they caused little cheer.
Models ascended a brilliant De Chirico like ramp and circled around a twisting walkway, as oblique lighting turned the set into a mimimalist Gothic cathedral. One has to doff one's hat and say that one way in which Prada simply blows away its major Milan rivals is in staging: Where Dolce, Armani, Versace, Gucci and Ferre all largely follow classic catwalks in their own personal theatres, Miuccia summons up every season an evocative cinema set experience, where you feel in new territory each time.
The music was also troubling, the imitation soundtracks of Daniel Motion, mixed by Frederic Sanchez with Julian Dore's "Aux Trois Lolita."
Adding to the somber mood, the door scene was tense. Prada, the target of Peta attacks, has probably the strictest door policy of any fashion house, anywhere. It's an incredibly hot show. But while a concern to protect guests from attacks is legitimate, forcing everyone to scan their invites, marked with a tribal digital thumbnail, as they are jostled through a phalanx of surely heavies, was pretty authoritarian. And definitely not chic.
By Godfrey Deeny
Courtesy Fashion Wire Daily