The fashion world has come to expect the unexpected from Miuccia Prada.
Last night at her autumn/winter catwalk show in Milan, the designer, once again, demonstrated her matchless talent for turning the most mundane of garments into fashion that sets pulses racing.
While other designers who work in her jetstream are still offering up for the new season the kind of Forties tweed coats she delivered last autumn, Prada turned her attention elsewhere. First she showed sporty quilted nylon jackets printed with inky blue digital patterns and cinched with a schoolboy belt and masculine Cossack hats in astrakhan fleece. A sequence of curvy strapless dresses with emphasised bosoms were surprisingly frank for the designer who once scorned "the desperation of the sexy". Factor in silk dresses printed with landscapes of ruins, accessories in the form of spooky robot dolls and a selection of sensible grey cardigans and the final effect was eclectic, to say the least. But this is how she intends it to be. Indeed, Prada's stated inspiration was the unlikely combination of the Sturm und Drang of German Romanticism and video games. Yet it was also in part a continuation from recent collections. The thick panels of glittery embroidery and tie dyes were a consolidation of recent themes rather than a radically new direction.
Later this evening, Milan will say goodbye to another of its biggest design stars when Tom Ford takes his final bow at Gucci. Meanwhile, the new autumn/winter catwalk collection from Anna Molinari was held yesterday at the Fiera Milano. The central premise to the collection was pretty enough: a fluid, full-skirted dress, with a waistband set high and a sexy neckline that plunged into a V-shape. In line with the rest of Milan, this was a restrained palette that summed up all the major colour trends that will hit stores and filter down into high street collections next autumn.