Gucci, Prada open Milan Fashion Week with wildly different shows
Gucci’s mysterious show of its spring-summer 2018 collections posed a big question for the audience in Milan, while Prada’s was full of clear, bold statements. There was one thing, though, that linked the two
Two giants of Italian fashion opened Milan Fashion Week with sharply contrasting looks.
Gucci’s collection was almost literally shrouded in mystery, with the audience seeing only glimpses of what was on the catwalk behind a thick veil of fog.
Prada’s collection, though, was the very vision of clarity, with the catwalk raised above the audience to expose every little detail – right down to the studs on the brogues.
Creative director Alessandro Michele posed a question. How do you review a show when you can barely see the clothes?
Well, that was the point – this show wasn’t all about new clothes, which were barely discernible thanks to the enveloping fog and strobe lights that bounced off the surrounding Roman statues.
Going backstage later provided some enlightenment, with glitter, glam and some serious 1980s shoulder padding highlighted by more strobes.
Michele often talks about fashion as a state of mind – he doesn’t think in terms of clothing but in terms of attitude. He dislikes “built-in obsolescence” that ensures an item will go out of date within a known time.
That’s why, amid the gloom, quite a few of the items on the catwalk felt familiar, but for a tweak here and there. The twin-set looks, pleated skirts, hooded capes, ’80s silhouettes, androgynous tailoring, spectacles and pearls were all retracing old steps.
What was new was the tribute to Elton John: a glittery glut of sequin power jackets, miniskirts and capes with satin jumpsuits, lightning-bolt metallic jackets and Elton tribute bags.
There was even a reference to video game developer Sega in the styling of the “Guccy” bag logo, while Disney characters were seen embellished on jumpers and jackets.
This was a totally different story – not just in the presentation, but in that Miuccia Prada has changed her game.
There was none of the romantic, nostalgic vibe of recent seasons. The models who paraded the raised catwalk in front of giant manga cartoon murals presented a distinctly androgynous look: dresses over slim black trousers, boyish shorts with knee-high socks, and some solid-looking herringbone tweed coats.
There was some femininity layered into the collection: embellished detailing, intriguing trompe l’oeil dyed effects on outerwear and pencil skirts, and whole editions of manga comics printed across coats.
The most feminine pieces were the pencil skirt and jumper looks worn with pretty kitten heels, and the intriguing combinations of ultra feminine skirt with masculine printed shirt.
There, perhaps, was the one link between the Prada and Gucci shows: it seemed Miuccia Prada was in part making some comment on the current debate in gender fluidity, something that Alessandro Michele has certainly done in his time.