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Backstage at Prada Menswear AW18Photography Arnaud Lafeuillade

Prada’s AW18 menswear show was an archive print extravaganza

This season Miuccia was thinking all things nylon, inviting four architects to put their spin on the house’s classic material

With the Milan shows in full swing, tonight was (one of) the moments the fashion pack was waiting for – Miuccia Prada’s latest collection for the Italian house. Moving to a new location, AW18 saw the return of some fan faves. Here’s what happened. 


Taking a vacay from the usual show venue, this season Prada relocated to Viale Ortles 35 next to the Fondazione Prada. Guests were seated on crates and bubble-wrapped boxes among rows of product scaffolding stacked with crates marked as containing Prada bananas, flaming heels and... dinosaurs. Some had retro robot stickers, other boxes were giant luminated blocks, and the floor was corrugated metal. If only Ikea looked like this.


From the opening look – a lightly-padded black nylon shirt, with matching shorts, bag and bucket hat – it was clear that the material synonymous with 90s Prada was back. “I am in love with black nylon,” said Miuccia unsurprisingly backstage after the show. “At the moment I don’t have enough – so we did it.” Yes she did. What followed was collection bursting with boxy silhouettes that were sometimes layered to give a grungy 90s feel. Or “winter surfer” as Miuccia called him. Gnarly dude.


While the opening segment of the show had a mostly black palette, that soon changed with the injection of some colourful mismatched patterned shirts. Think the bananas from SS11 set alight by the flames of SS12, or the lipsticks from SS00 with the 60s graphics from SS96. Elsewhere there were nods to the guitar-playing Hawaiian lady of SS14, Christophe Chemin’s kissing Cleopatra and Elvis scene from AW16 or the fake Japanese beach from SS10. The list is endless. Basically the most chic game of ‘I spy’ you could possibly play.


Following last season’s collaboration with illustrator James Jean, this season Miuccia enlisted four architects to reinterpret the iconic black nylon. Entitled ‘Prada Invites’, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, Herzog & de Meuron and Rem Koolhaas (nice and easy names) all worked to the simple brief of creating an item out of the material. While Koolhaas has been the man behind Prada’s amazing sets for years, it was his first time working on the collection. Along with a reinvented anorack, the collection also featured a return to the runway of the Prada Sport line (recognisable by its red label). If you’ve got any at the back of your wardrobe, now is the time to dig it out.


Last season’s surveillance theme (remember the eyes that were everywhere?) continued through to AW18, but this time Miuccia was resigned to the fact that there is no escaping it. “I think we are in the moment where the possibilities of control are very relevant,” she said. For the models who wore what looked like ID badges, or work passes of some kind her explanation was simple: “We are all controlled, machine and mankind. We think we are free but actually we are species.” But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. “You have to go on. You have to live and face what is happening.” Thanks to Prada we have a good reason to continue on.