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Saturday May 25, 2024

Milan Fashion: Prada animates male form with 1940s tailoring that aims to liberate, not constrict

2023 Jun 21, 10:29, MILAN

The architecture at Prada’s showroom shifts with every season, but never so fluidly as for Spring-Summer 2024 menswear.

The collection was viewed through a wall of clear falling slime — a form of fluid architecture — that gathered on the metallic grate runway in piles of green foam. The moving architecture was a metaphor for a collection that was meant to express the fluidity of menswear.

Some highlights from the third day of Milan Fashion Week of mostly menswear runway shows for next spring and summer:


Prada explores the fluidity of menswear, through a 1940s workwear tailored silhouette that is at the same time liberating.

Co-creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons said they were experimenting with the idea of a fluid architecture that animates the male form, never constricting.

The collection’s building blocks are the white shirt, mid-thigh shorts, black socks and thick-soled shiny loafers. Clothes for real men, the collection also includes jeans, blazers and raincoats. The look can be layered with a reporter’s vest. Leather bags are soft, with decorative pockets.

The textiles are super-light, allowing button-down shirts or jackets to be tucked neatly into shorts, which are gathered at the waist, emphasizing an idealized male form: wide shoulders, narrow waist.

“We were very interested to see how we could liberate that, in the sense you had a lot of freedom to move,” Simons said.

Hawaiian-inspired prints of sci-fi dragons were curtained with a long fringe, creating motion. Pockets on a reporter’s vest were more decorative than utilitarian, the designers said. Looks were finished with molded eyewear and headbands, conveying a kinetic energy.


British designer Charles Jeffrey proposed a joyful Loverboy collection for a new Carolean era in Britain driven by the people and inspired by the tumultuous season when King Charles III ascended the throne amid political turmoil.

“I wanted to reclaim that space. I decided to do my own counterculture,” Jeffrey said backstage. “I looked at the previous Carolean era of the 17th century: the reformation of the monarchy, the opening of theaters, arts and culture, new Romanticism.”

Like the new Romantics, Jeffrey used costume “to depict euphoria, to depict a better life.”

The designer used Loverboy’s design codes of tartan, tailoring and knitwear and combined them with what he called “joyful slapstick accessories.” They included a fanciful shield and sword decorated with classical figures, and tricorn hats adorned with scenes from Carolean theater created with paper dolls.

Look included fluorescent yellow bloomers, a maiden’s bustled dress with an AI-created floral pattern, a knight’s armor transposed on to athletic running gear, and a barrel dress created from fabric strips belted together. The brand’s leather claw shoes finished many looks.

“They are a depiction of what the Carolean era should be: Free education, gay rights, women’s rights free borders,” Jeffrey said backstage.


The upcycled, hand-crafted artisanal brand Simon Cracker presented an irreverent and even chaotic collection dubbed “Theoretically,” for that so-called moment when everything goes well.

Simon Cracker embraces gender fluidity and is friendly to all body types, as seen in its runway models who are all friends of the brand. But its core identity is its punk ethos, embodying the spirit of Vivienne Westwood, and fully upcycled garments and accessories, each conceived and created by the brand’s founders. Simone Botte and Filippo Biraghi.

This season “we used all the materials we didn’t love,” said Botte, plunging into a stock of chenille, Lycra and “nasty prints” that they had previously rejected.

Dresses were made out of men’s shirts. A quilted garment was turned into a funky bolero. Men wear slip skirts with painted button-down shirts decorated with fluorescent beads. Overcoats and T-shirts are treated with a solar printing process.

Accessories are completely reworked: footwear is painted or covered with crocheted doilies or green tinsel. Handbags this season are decorated with dolls, including the short-lived Blythe doll that was imagined as a 1970s rival to Barbie until her big head scared children. She found new life in Simon Cracker.


The German luxury leather accessories maker MCM, once associated with travel bags for the jet set, is relaunching its product line with an eye on new consumers, from the logo-shy to Gen-Z youth.

MCM enjoyed a heyday in the 1990s with fans like Princess Diana and Michael Jackson, followed in the 2000s with iconic moments like Beyonce’s custom-branded corset and brief, or the belt bag sported by Billie Eilish.

The brand is moving into smaller leather goods, treated canvas bags and accessories and maxi bags with the new understated laurel motif. The new Diamant bag, featuring a pointed arch, can be carried as a clutch or cross-body bag, and also comes in an oversize version.

The accessory line is also being expanded to sliders and sneakers, also featuring the laurel logo, that signifies a move toward a quieter luxury. MCM is testing the apparel waters with travel-ready wrinkle-free garments, like a treated canvas miniskirt and jacket for her and varsity-style jacket for him

As inflation has pushed up accessory prices in the luxury sector, MCM is keeping its prices under 2,000 euros ($2,192). “It’s a sweet spot left by big luxury producers, who unfortunately had to increase prices,” said Sabine Brunner, MCM president and brand officer.


Milan Fashion Prada 1940s tailoring liberate constrict Spring-Summer 2024 menswear Milan Fashion Week

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