Plastic fantastic upstages Prada

TAMSIN BLANCHARD

Fashion Editor

The late Franco Moschino would have given his approval to the talented team of young designers who are taking his name into the new millennium.

Presenting their new creations immediately after those of Prada may have given lesser designers cold sweats, but they chose instead to poke fun at the competition. When a trademark nylon Prada bag was worn to open the Moschino show, the familiar Prada logo read "Pasta" instead.

Unlike the rest of Milan, Moschino trades on its reputation for making fashion funny.

Miuccia Prada need not have been too worried though. Her collection of luxury classics was presented with customary panache and she had only to look around the audience to know that she still has her finger on the pulse.

Prada's spring/summer granny jackets and skirt suits, and loose basket- weave print nylon trousers were being worn in abundance. The only problem is that the clothes have such a distinctive trademark they become instantly dated.

But this mass Prada hysteria is a sign of the label's far-reaching influence. It will be seen - not only worn head to foot by those in the know - but also on the catwalks of other designers, from London to New York, where the label's second, younger line, Miu Miu, will be shown at the end of the month.

After seeing yesterday's collection for autumn/winter 1996, the uninitiated would be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about. For here were simple, sensible clothes that might not look so special if you did not know the label inside them.

The use of late Sixties/early Seventies bathroom tile prints in brown and orange has continued into the collection for next winter, as have straight-legged trousers and thick matt nylon nurses' dresses. There were also plain cashmere V-neck jumpers that, unlike the prints, will be wardrobe staples season after season.

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