The Prada Fall/Winter 2021 Menswear collection by Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons takes as its basis an intimate and personal wish for contact, our urge to exchange and relate. The foundation of all is the individual: the human body, and its freedom.
The need to feel, the pleasure of tactility, results in a panoply of surface texture and textile. Echoing the notion of sensory stimulation, geometric-patterned jacquard knits and leathers are combined with re- nylon, bouclé tweeds and classic pinstripe wool suiting, in both traditional and unanticipated colors. The interplay is projected outwards, to the sequence of rooms the models navigate through the show.
Each excites the senses: backdrops brilliantly-hued, the models’ isolated passages underscored by an original electronic soundtrack by Plastikman aka Richie Hawtin. Devised by Rem Koolhaas and AMO, the show’s ‘non-spaces’ are defined by panes of marble, resin, plaster and faux fur. Inviting and seductive, they can pretend to be both interior and exterior, hard and soft, warm and cold: simultaneously both and neither, they allow absolute freedom of interpretation and expression.
A similar doublespeak is reflected in the depiction of the body itself – via clothes reduced, minimalized in structure. The logical conclusion is to return to the body: jacquard-knit bodysuits create a streamlined “second skin”, serving to delineate the figure in dynamic movement. Abstraction of feeling becomes abstraction of freedom. These bodysuits paradoxically reveal while concealing, placing an emphasis on physicality, but also covering the form. Some are proposed alone: in other outfits, they are used to create a base layer under tailoring and outerwear. They denote both protection and exposure, with synchronous connotations of the naive and knowing, intimate and removed, youthful and mature. In the latter, they reflect a passage of time, of life.
To opposite ends, emphasizing the body through a process of reduction results in silhouettes that stand away from the frame, a reduction of shape in the garment. Single and double-breasted coats are constructed on rectilinear lines; bomber jackets are generous. Executed in leather and bouclé, lined in geometric jacquards, garments are sensual – crafting a topography of feeling, enjoyed by the wearer alone. Color and pattern excites the eye; surfaces entice touch.