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September 28, 2015

Subverting traditional classics: That was the line transmitted about the Prada collection by design director Fabio Zambernardibackstage in the absence of Miuccia Prada, who was sadly unable to be there this season due to the passing of her aunt. If Miuccia was elsewhere, her aesthetic was fully present in a collection which literally stayed within narrow lines. It was an essay on skirt suits and coats, bisected with a graphic theme of vertical stripes, and accompanied by a wealth of her quirky accessories, signature embellishments and the swish of dozens of dangly earrings as big as Christmas-tree baubles.

The news from Milan so far has been about retro-eclecticism drawn through an Italian sensibility. Well, if anyone is the mother of all that, it’s Miuccia Prada, who has been writing the encyclopedia on it, with PhD-level footnotes and wittily allusive fashion-changing asides, for decades. This collection trod firmly on her home territory, shod in an array of elegant low-heeled shoes, each pair made in its own delicious configuration of pointiness, ankle-strapping, metallic leather, patent and suede.

As for the suits, they came in collages of checks, tweeds, and stripes, sometimes in leather and suede, here and there in transparent prints. What to make of this? For one thing, Miuccia Prada pays no heed to weather-appropriateness. In her view—which is a global one—there’s as much need for pieced fur coats in summer as there is for skimpy silk slip dresses, which she optionally layers over chunky knits. There’s the question of proportions, too—her loosened shoulder line and boxy shapes, and a series of waist-length jackets in brown suede and leather, could well prove influential.

The show ended with a siren call to Prada’s wealthiest constituencies: coats in metallic snakeskin and suede stripes, and beautifully desirable organza suits and coats decorated with outsize transparent pailletted flowers. One way or another, all those looks are destined to be broken down and distributed as trophies all over the realms of young Hollywood, the art world, weddings, and special occasions that Miuccia Prada knows so well. Written by Sarah Mower for Vogue.com

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