Some women think flowers are pretty, but Miuccia Prada begs to differ. Of her show in Milan last night, in which models wore simple stiffened dresses decorated with prints and appliques of naïve daisies and dandelions, she said “it was mainly about the impossibilities of women”.
"The flower was a symbolic of the life of women and the huge struggle we always have," she continued.
In a collection that was typically heedless of general consensus, Prada fielded lots of fur for spring 2013 – another nod, she said, to the fact women are often judged by what they wear.
"If you go out with flowers on, people laugh at you," she said. "The same with pink and with fur."
Draped, layered and folded minimal cotton shifts and separates gave way to elegant duchesse satin in pale pink and pistachio, wrapped like Japanese obi belts around the body and with wide-cut samurai sleeves. That said, Miuccia Prada did not acknowledge any Eastern influences on her work.
Shoes were either stack platforms or paper-flat metallic leather booties, while bags were small swinging shoppers, emblazoned with the same applique flowers.
Also on the schedule yesterday was Giorgio Armani's Emporio collection, which he titled 'Neat'. In doing so, tapped into an understated and utilitarian trend that other labels in Milan are also clearly interested in.
At Gucci on Wednesday, Frida Giannini presented brightly coloured but minimal tunics and trousers, while MaxMara's design director Laura Lusuardi also pared things down yesterday with pragmatic boiler suits and streamlined shirtdresses.
The Emporio Armani shownotes promised clothing that reflected "a 'clean' attitude, a way of being and expressing yourself that is simple and natural, never too affected". For a designer who made his name in the late Seventies remodelling men's clothing for women and relaxing feminine codes of dress, this emphasis on purism is a priority.
Armani, 78, will show his eponymous main line in Milan on Sunday evening, but his trademark minimalism was evident even in his more youthful label, which tends towards girlish glamour rather than grown-up tailoring.
The shows in Milan continue today with Versace on the schedule, and a private performance from singer Beth Ditto in the evening to celebrate the label's diffusion line, Versus, which is currently designed by Central Saint Martins graduate Christopher Kane.