"You know, I'm a bit contrarian" Miuccia Prada explained after her house's SS19 men's show. For decades now, Prada has done as she's pleased, never taking the easy route, and her unpredictable, dense collections are the reason this is the most eagerly-anticipated date on the Milan Fashion Week schedule. While the world is busy tripping over the latest Frankenstein sneaker or runway meme, Prada puts guys in sci-fi boiler suits and impossibly hairy belts. Last season, the house sent fashion veterans crazy with reissues of cult-classic "Linnea Rossa" pieces, which defined an entire genre of luxury sportswear decades before anyone uttered the world "athleisure."
But what of SS19? Well, compared to the easy sells that dominated FW18, this season was a sharp left turn. After an opening salvo of pretty ordinary-looking suede outerwear (the most extravagant thing about those will be the price tags), which was layered over teacherly turtle necks, Prada sent out boys in shorts so tiny that, to her own admission, may as well have been mini skirts. When most brands are in an arms race for eyeballs, she went for soft, washed denim, lots of brown, and barely any branding, save for some small square logos placed here and there.
Knitted sneakers, which have been an undeniably enormous trend of late, were repurposed into...dress shoes. The only remnants of Prada's sportswear resurrection was a solitary pair of nylon windbreakers, which were worn over some impossibly tight shorts, executed in skin-hugging knit. Nope, no trendy novelties here.
That's not to say this was a conservative affair: trippy sci-fi graphics and performance sunglasses would appeal to guys who want to make a statement, but a different statement.
The overall result was a sharp left turn from last season's headline-friendly Linnea Rossa revival. Prada explained she was aiming for elegance, but in a young way: her guy is intellectual, uninterested in what the masses are doing. To a scrum of journalists backstage, she summed it up best herself.
"It's more about people than impressing people."