Romance. The Romantic. Romance as a literary and artistic pursuit, and romance as a human experience. Both place an emphasis on emotion and individualism, on feeling, a reaction against the rational. A tension, between nature and civilisation.
The Fall/Winter 2019 Prada Womenswear show is an exploration of the anatomy of romance – ideologically, emotionally. As the romantics believed imagination could invent a better world, a perfect human being, so these ideas are fundamentally reflected in the fashion show, peopled with proposals of the idealised, the model.
Approaches are addressed as individuals. The interplay between different dichotomies, between dualities of materials and approaches, natural and man-made, here convey a suggestion of two lovers meeting, two halves to one whole. A traditional romance, underscored by a dissection of archetypal and direct symbols. These are simple, archaic gestures of love: strewn flowers, the heart, lace veiling, a bow, a thunderbolt as coup de foudre.
There is a dark romance in danger – a horror film is romantic, danger is attractive. Military clothing imagines a past, of the lost subsequently reunited. There is also the unexpected romance of science-fiction films, of Frankenstein and his Bride – an unlikely love story, a hero ceaselessly searching for affection. But he is a man-made creation, an emblem of a search for the sublime, like fashion itself. A romantic concept. They appear here in a wedding portrait, their memory in marriages of composite parts – nylon and Loden wool, laces against mohair fur.
The notion of the experimental is fundamentally romantic – boldness, creative power, freedom of thought, intuition. This collection is a reaction to and reflection of humanity, of our strengths and fragilities. The sentiment of contemporary romance encompasses the fantastical as alternate to reality, a dream to be lived. A hopeless romantic, a romantic outlook – a fairy-tale with a happy ending.