Prada mixes nostalgia and grunge for summer 2023 menswear
Reconciling unusually high temperatures with the looks for next summer on Milan Fashion Week runways is becoming an exercise in cognitive dissonance.
While nodding to sustainability, designers are nonetheless proposing looks that don’t jibe well with the longer summer heat waves, and instead seem to be focused on customers who either live in northern climates, who can count on cool evenings or air conditioning, or who just don’t care.
Some highlights from Sunday’s preview of mostly menswear for Spring-Summer 2023:
PRADA’S GINGHAM NOSTALGIA
The Miuccia Prada-Raf Simons collaboration at Prada has been a proven success, generating recognizable pieces that grab attention and brand recognition from a distance. That is quite a feat for co-creators who joined forces just as the pandemic put the globe on lockdown, and which hasn’t quite loosened its grip.
The silhouette for next spring and summer is studied and restrained, another easy read. It started with suits with hidden buttons, tapered skinny trousers down to pointy boots. The pair introduced boyish notes with striped ribbed or color-block knitwear. Oversized bags contributed to a sense of childhood, playing with grown-ups’ things.
Nostalgia came in the form of oversized gingham, recalling a kitchen tablecloth, traditionally a woman’s domain, in play against leather grunge: sleeveless short sets, and trenches, sometimes with a gingham trench layered in between.
Questions persist: How is this a summer wardrobe? Where exactly is this summer?
But judging from those in the fashion crowd in knit turtlenecks and leather coats, the question may be beside the point where Prada is concerned.
Backstage, Prada welcomed guests including Jake Gyllenhaal, Jeff Goldblum and Rami Malek, herself wearing a cashmere gray short-sleeved sweater and an organza sheath skirt.
‘REALITY BITES’ BY SIMON CRACKER
Designers Filippo Biraghi and Simone Botte took a radical turn during the pandemic and devoted the Simon Cracker brand they founded in 2010 entirely to up-cycled materials.
The designers collect unclaimed garments from laundries and textile remnants from producers, to make unique creations for their growing following, known as the Cracker Crew. Source material includes old cotton and linen bedsheets, men’s shirts, old parachutes, discarded yarns for new knitwear and recycled jersey.
The collection for Spring-Summer 2023 was titled “Reality Bites,” from the Gen-X 1990s film but more fittingly a reference to the state of the world, and most specifically the difficulties the up-and-coming brand has been experiencing recently.
“We are living a difficult moment,” Biraghi said backstage. “’Reality Bites’ is a bit of our experience in this moment.”
They described the collection as a cross between Holly Hobby and the Sex Pistols, encapsulated by punk accents with ruffles. Looks were decorated with naive embroidery, tiny patches or childlike doodles.
“It is as if the clothes were born beautiful, and then are bitten,” Botte said.
The models were people from their Cracker Crew, encapsulating different body types and attitudes.
One older male model wearing a high-waist knitwear trousers, with a red ribbon accent and a deconstructed jacket with flowing orange silk panel moved in a trance-like dance down the runway, while a woman in a corset over a layered skirt of discarded men’s shirts carried a miniature dog.