Trends AW19: Prada, top 10 takeaways
Prada is one of those labels you either think is the greatest thing since sliced… sorry, sourdough bread, or that you can’t quite see what all the fuss is about.
I’m in the former camp, but even so I still realise that the label’s seasonal collections aren’t always as good as they could be. They tend to fall in the great, the good or the “hmmm, not sure” column. But fortunately, of late, there have been more of the first two.
The AW19 offer definitely falls into the good category. It may not make history (but so far this season, there’s been very little that could be called game-changing). However, it was full of wearable looks, easy to interpret trends and strong statements.
This may be the age of the casual coat but Prada has always loved traditional woollen varieties and these are impeccably cut and both surprisingly simple and complex. Curving in at the waist, the metallic hardware (think D-rings and metal clips) add extra interest and help to emphasise the silhouette. Dresses follow the same template and highlighted the importance of heavy matte woollens and tweeds for the season, not just for outerwear but for daytime and more unexpected evening pieces. The strapless tweed dresses were a huge hit.
It may be autumn but it’s a key season for florals. Think exuberant and colourful, adding a bright touch to otherwise-sombre dresses or making a statement as a standalone print. But at Prada, florals also move out of their 2-D existence into a third dimension with satin floral appliqués giving clothes and accessories a new textural dimension. Meanwhile daisy earrings and necklaces look hugely commercial.
The combination of military greys, khakis and variations of the battledress pocket add a martial edge to the collection and should be a big influence on the casual outerwear sector. The look can be pure utility, working with practical pants or jeans, or have a surprisingly dressy edge paired with lace.
With Wednesday Addams hairstyles, models once again wore the Frankenstein’s Monster motifs previewed during the men’s runway shows and look set to inspire a thousand copies. Add in the Bride of Frankenstein and you have the perfect pairing while some twisted florals complete with lightning bolts complete the powerful print story with quirky appeal.
The sweater dress may not have had a huge place in the collection but it makes an impact nonetheless and offers lots of potential for colour and pattern to be added into the mix. Prada uses it as a canvas for its ultra-commercial Frankenstein-linked motif with the artfully artless handstitching hinting at the rough stitches made to sew the monster together.
Designer labels have been racing to abandon real fur and have been replacing it either with ultra-realistic is-it-or-isn’t-it faux varieties, or synthetic furs that are as fake as it’s possible to get. And Prada? The label has chosen the latter to trim hats, bags and more. It won’t delight everyone but it’s a strong visual reference that the mass-market can tap into, Think nylon bags-meet-the-Muppets and you’ve got the picture.
The defined waist is a key direction from the AW19 shows and Prada’s on board with it. Whether through belts, clever cuts and drapes or waist-focused detailing, the natural waist is a major focus.
The cape has a starring role for AW19 and Prada’s version comes in heavy sheepskins or lighter-than-air lace. The label also cuts tailored or utility pieces with cape-effect sleeves to make Prada one of the biggest cape advocates on the autumn runways.
Guipure lace, cobweb lace, embellished lace. Yes, you guessed it, lace is big news for the season. Find it as an inset for cocktail dresses, as a cape to add the finishing touch to an evening look, as an overlay to create a layered effect for after-dark or for daytime mixed with surprising, even sporty, pieces.
Boots means business
Boots and shoes are also tapping into the Frankenstein theme with a nod to the heavy boots worn by the monster (as well Herman Munster et al). But there’s also a hiking/utility connection as the hiking boots that proved a hit last season continues to make their presence felt. They make the biggest impact in power primaries with a contrast black sole.
Prada has left behind the multicolour bags or recent seasons in favour of traditional classics with a twist. Think oversized frame bags that are a bit too big to be truly traditional; ladylike career bags with too many extra pockets to be as conservative as they superficially seem; or the classic handbag reinvented as a backpack. As this is Prada, fabric bags are also key with massive utility bags plus feature pockets, or satin simplicity taken to another level via floral appliqués.