Blue office cubicles doubled as photo ops at the entrance to
“It’s nature that you can’t touch,” Miuccia Prada said in an interview backstage. “It’s a bit scary for me.” This intangible instinct served as the inspiration for the clothes, per Raf Simons, the other half of the industry-leading design duo. “There is this idea of echoing surrounding, being influenced by environments in the garments themselves – office and nature, inside and out, the instinctive change of people shifting between these opposite spheres,” he mused.
Harsh sounds mirrored the formidable subject matter at the runway’s commencement. Look 1 introduced the collection’s hero: colorful headwear that clung firmly to models’ heads, much like that of a swim cap. First appearing in red, the futuristic beanie grasped onto almost all of the subsequent models in shades of purple, brown, green, white, grey, navy and black. Upon closer inspection backstage, the champion accessory possessed a warming, waffle-like texture that expanded across the head with no bother.
“Natural rhythms” decided the gestures of garments, said Simons. In each look, the designers respond accordingly to the their disparate environmental sources: where the line’s kaleidoscopic headpieces and form-hugging trousers might impart warmth on colder winter days, its boxy suits, button-up shirts and tonal ties would prefer to be swiveling around at a desk indoors. Each piece’s utilitarian purpose is different; but their instinctive codes are identical: it’s about adapting for “different spaces, alternate environments,” said Raf.
The collection also housed monotone turtlenecks, which appeared in uniform hues to the headwear. Two cardigans, in bright lime and red, layered over pastel-toned T-shirts, complemented by vivid conductor hats. On occasion, yellow, black and brown balaclavas emerged from under sweaters. Meanwhile, woolen peacoats, trenches and overcoats strictly opted for neutral colors, akin to their leather and nylon counterparts.
Belts asked for attention, with a plethora of oversized, jagged iterations swallowing models’ waists. Ideal for work, leather bags were left big enough to hold full-size laptops. Better for the outdoors, vibrant sandals often supplied a campy finish to otherwise formal attire. Shiny dress shoes were available for the work room, too.
“The changing of seasons enables human beings to continue to look at the world with fresh eyes,” said Prada, reflecting on the cyclical nature of fashion. “The Rite of Spring has inspired generations of musicians to reinvent themselves… the seasons have been the most consistent theme in all schools of painting… fashion aspires to the same effect of renewal.”
Next season, the Prada Man will go to work in a suit (and the odd statement tie), business as usual. But perhaps he’ll take a second to step out-of-office to quench his curiosity for the environment, peeking out at the world from under his colorful, scalp-gripping hat. It’s only human nature!
See Prada’s Fall/Winter 2024 menswear collection in the gallery above, and stay tuned to Hypebeast for more Milan Fashion Week Men’s coverage.