MAfter the show, iuccia Prada patiently hugged countless well-wishers backstage when actress Naomi Ackie stood in front of her towards the end: “Thank you very much for letting me be here,” she says. “You’re an icon.” Naomi Ackie knows about icons, having played Whitney Houston in last year’s film of the same name.
Miuccia Prada is probably one too: for 35 years this fashion icon in Milan has been presenting one collection after the next, with handbags she has been in the handbag business even longer in this short-lived industry. There have been lulls, but right now the brand is back in fashion and icon Miuccia Prada is now speaking amidst a crowd of journalists as she has done after her shows for decades. It begins with how they took on workwear, from the professions “where people take care of one another”. The nurse’s coat is now a dress with a train that touches the floor.
The predecessors resign
But wait – away from the crowd is Belgian designer Raf Simons, who has been working at Miuccia Prada’s side for three years and says: “I’m sure she can explain it much better.” He then takes over anyway and tells, as well as the wedding a sign that people care for each other, which is why the color white has special meaning in the collection. How the crazy proportions of these dresses – the padded skirts, the short jackets and long dresses – are meant to symbolize the beauty of the everyday.
Raf Simons is certainly not a young designer at the age of 55, a large part of which he has spent in the fashion scene. These are the fewest that still appear in this text. But crucially, the previous generation, with its great icons who made fashion a pop culture authority, is now gradually stepping down. Some die, like Vivienne Westwood at the end of December, some go out of fashion, like the Etro and Missoni families recently. The reason for this is often that brands have apparently long been better off in the hands of investors than families. In the past few days, when designers were showing their fall collections for Milan fashion week, the Missonis instead posted carnival pictures on Instagram.
“A New Opportunity in Life”
On the other hand, on the catwalks and in the city in general, you get an impression of who could shape fashion in the future – and what it should actually become. It is almost symbolic that construction is going on everywhere in Milan, not least in preparation for the 2026 Olympics, and that Etro, Jil Sander, Bottega Veneta and so on are also clad the buildings with their large billboards.
The renovation work is also in full swing at the fashion houses: At Etro, the Italian Marco de Vincenzo took over from Veronica and Kean Etro last summer. He showed his first collection in September three weeks after starting. In the past few months he has been able to “really immerse himself in the archives with their wonderful materials”. That’s how he tells it on Wednesday evening before his second show. Maybe he really rejuvenates the brand with the fluttering dresses, which are also a new topic for him. The low-cut, embroidered patent leather blazers look much more confident, best in combination with jeans and corduroy trousers. “It’s nice to get such a new opportunity in life,” he says, “I’m already 44.”
No chance 15 years ago
Marco de Vincenzo is in good company. In Milan, a generation is now taking over that 15 years ago was considered to have no chance because the designers, who were already older at the time, persistently continued their brands. Fashion has become younger after all. Kim Jones, 49, has settled in at Fendi after the Karl Lagerfeld era and has long since made discreet luxury his business. Walter Chiapponi, 44, is getting better and better at Tod’s. From autumn onwards, his wrap-around ballerina shoes and sturdy boots will be the main items in the shops. The tailored jackets deserve at least an equally prominent place. How does he get these rapid cuts? “With the hand. I don’t draw anymore,” Chiapponi said backstage after the show. “Cut, sew, pin.” That’s how it works.