Jan 22, 2013

Prada Menswear AW13 Review

Forgive us for this entry's overtly excited tone but it seems so futile to contain it. And for the risk of sounding shamelessly superficial may we exclaim, "It's PRADA!", after all. At the time of writing we are already in Paris and thanks to an overload of shopping (we had less shows to attend in Paris, boo hoo...) this post has been sitting in 'draft' mode for quite some time. Nevertheless it goes without saying that the experience attending Prada Men’s Autumn Winter 2013 collection has got to be the highlight of the week (honestly every event is a highlight but this one is monumental!).

As we were not that busy towards the end of the day (Prada show was slated to start at 6 p.m), we decided to move out from the hotel earlier just to check out the venue, plus it is a significant label as we know it; so we want to be fully prepared and avoid all those bad contingencies as Milano traffic can be very unforgiving at times.

We both know Hafidz is granted photographer pass but his invite stated ‘Ph + BK’. ‘Ph’ is commonly known as photographer (d’oh!) like how ‘ST’ means a standing ticket, but we didn’t really know what ‘BK’ meant and we were not really bothered at all as the fact that Hafidz will be in the photographer’s pit during the show is very fortunate enough for us. (I mean, why would Prada grant us backstage when none of the brands we went to previously give us such extensive  access?). Upon arrival a large group of people was already waiting outside the main gate of Fondazione Prada. I inevitably shoved Hafidz straight to the backstage access gate (with the invite in his hand, of course), and in no time all we know he was already in! *

We understood that this season Miuccia Prada and her team are all about finding the ‘perfect’ factor for the collection - perfect hues of colors, perfect effect, perfect wash, perfect look. Observing from my seat during the show, however, the looks may have been all too normal - probably a stance taken by just like any other person who sees the collection online. However it goes without saying that each piece of garment looks so much better in person during the re-see. When you touch and feel (a model-sized attendee was lucky enough to effortlessly try on a jacket!) you will appreciate each item even more.

I was intrigued upon seeing a cropped bomber jacket with a jutting jumper hemline paraded down the runway, and we both collectively agree that it is our favorite look from this collection. The elasticated ribbing at the side of the bomber gives a sporty feel, and the cropped cut promises a multitude of styling opportunities.

The general understanding in men’s wear is that a garment will have to look like any other garment, but this collection proves that you can still play with little details. Despite the seemingly 'conventional' silhouette in the pieces (which the people at the Fashion Spot forum firmly detests), Mrs Prada and her team brilliantly master that concept and it is evident in the detachable ruffled gingham shirts (some are surprisingly made of linen), the color-block tweak on outerwear necks and double-breasted coat with only single-row of buttons. I'm not sure whether this is just another PR scheme to say that despite the "normality" of the clothes, extra special attention is taken into account in producing each item - reportedly Miuccia Prada selects the best fabric for the collection, well, whatever 'best' means...

Nevertheless we are allured whenever a detailed information about a certain process of craftsmanship is revealed. In this case a particular technique was carried out to produce natural looking, worn-out shade of the leather jackets. The effect is abundant at the areas most susceptible to friction (collar edges, plackets, hems). We were told that the coats were battered, cleaned and dyed over and over again to produce that aging look. This inexorably reminds us of certain iconic artisanal pieces from Maison Martin Margiela...

Bags are shockingly absent from the runway, giving the entire attention of the season solely to the clothes and of course, the thick rubber-sole footwear. Once again the shoes are chunky in size, but this time around have more pointed ends (personally, they resemble creepers to me) and winter-friendly heavy duty CAT tractor-like soles. Paired with skin-tight pants the 'chicken-leg' effect might not be everyone's cup of tea but nevertheless I bet come next season the footwear will still be flying off the shelves because well, it's Prada!.

I'm sure everyone who attended the show got into an Instagram/tweeting frenzy looking at the runway set, that was decorated in a variety of retro-looking apartment setting with large beautiful paintings adorning the wall (turned out that it was a digital projection, complete with a life-like cat in the window!), together with mock furniture and household objects. The whole set is designed by famed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas with his amazing Rotterdam-based design firm AMO - as I mentioned earlier the set itself warrants a post on its own.

The re-see was held at the show venue so the clothes were displayed in a family category, and the foam and Plexiglas furniture as prop. You can now see even clearer how the furniture jived seamlessly with the collection and understand Miuccia’s idea even better. Designer furniture aficionados, rejoice as in six months some of the furniture will be produced by New York-based design firm Knoll.

We had the best time at Prada (obviously more for Hafidz). To finally witness the brand’s creativity being displayed right in front of you for the first time was very surreal and definitely will be locked up in memory for as long as I could.

*Foot note: Insignificant as it may sound, a major ‘fashion photography’ moment for me was when Scott Schuman was denied backstage entry and asked to wait until show venue is open. I know it sounds harsh but couldn't help but to feel a bit smug over this fact ;)

Words by Arman Shahril, edited by Hafidzudin Zainal
Images by Hafidzudin Zainal

1 comment:

gunmetal said...

That foot note on Scott asshole is priceless!

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