Prada creates an American dream we all want to live

 

'Designer clothing' is a phrase you don't really hear much anymore. Instead, we use 'fashion' which is both a noun, and a verb. It puts the onus on the making, rather than the design.

Prada, however, is the great exception to the rule: every rule, actually. The hand and eye of Miuccia Prada is what makes her clothing compelling, the reason why Prada boutiques are stocked with show looks rather than their anodyne commercial equivalent. Mrs Prada is convinced of what she's doing, whatever she's doing. And that conviction makes her fashion great.

There's also nothing provincial or xenophobic about her outlook. Prada may be the greatest proponent of not only Made In Italy but designed in there too, but it doesn't limit her imagination. For spring, Prada is dreaming of America. In fact it's Hawaii via the mid-century Midwest, a fantasy of Honolulu holiday travel. Pinstripes clashed with hibiscus prints, silk bomber jackets sketched the outlines of forties pin-ups and both make and female models toted suitcases and attaché cases hung with charms redolent of customs stickers peeled from old trunks.

It felt like less of a volte face than usual at Prada: it's feasible to imagine this as the summer vacation of Prada's winter man, shedding his gingham and tweeds for silk-satin and tropical florals, layered under office drone suits or postcard-intarsia short-sleeve sweaters. Those popped up in the show set too, idyllic sunsets and palm trees outlined in primary shades to contrast with the muggy tones of burgundy, mustard and navy that dominated.

The relaxed mood extended to the shapes, roomy zip-front jackets, boxy shirts, wide-cut chino trousers or silk shorts. There are all kinds of points to be made about Prada's authority and authorship of these looks - effectively, a twenty-first century Italian imagining of a twentieth-century American abroad, referencing a past we all know but which in this reality is Mrs Prada's sole invention. But it's enough to say you wish you were there. Her power as a designer is that of seduction. It was an American dream we all want to live. 

Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta also emphasised the supremacy of the designer. The house has built its reputation on evoking the sense of the hand - intrecciato leather, hand-woven textiles, embroideries and prints. Sometimes it can take their shows closer to craft than fashion. 

This time, however, it was the illustrative idea of the first creative impulse of a fashion designer. "Drawing the clothes like the sketch itself," said Tomas Maier after showing suits hand-painted with tailoring details. Sometimes painterly effects outlined a real lapel, shirt-collar or tie, sometimes creating an illusion, resembling chalk-marks on a bespoke work-in-progress.

It's difficult to tell the difference in pictures, and in a world of mass appeal fashion built for internet - rather than boutique - browsing, the idea of garments you have to touch to figure it all out feels exciting. There was even a touch of uncertainty injected - the impression of a flap pocket instead bisected by a welt, as if the designer had changed his mind at the final moment. Clothes that have been thought about, and to think about.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
news
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

    £7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

    Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

    Day In a Page

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick