Fashion is forced into a vice whose two sides are represented by form and meaning and comes to life when the product in the center manages to govern both sides: the demonstration is in the Prada Men's Fall Winter 2022-23 collection that Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons call Body of Work. Furthermore, in its being an expression of common life, it must express a value and this is what it means to express the sense of what one is. And only when it manages to express the meaning of itself can fashion also be saved as a system of signs, of organization and even of power.
“We had an eloquent fashion in mind, garments that had meaning. Clothes capable of making people feel important and that they were, in themselves, important. Not a disposable fashion, but something that had meaning, longevity and relevance. The concept of classic is very important, "says Miuccia Prada, who involves her fashion in the elaboration of a complete sense of human action. So much so that his job in this collection is to keep structures (shapes and volumes) at bay to enhance the meaning of the single item of clothing. First of all, the hierarchy established by the dominant culture on the same aspects of the clothes in which "work clothes" is an expression that tends to diminish both the appearance and the meaning, because the function of that dress is not to enhance the social role of the wearer.
It is a very subtle distinction to which this Prada Men's FW 22-23 Collection responds by overturning the order and transforming everyday life into the only possible social ceremony. So much so that, says Raf Simons, "the approach is to make all garments equally important. Lightweight, deux-pièces suits are worn under coats and suits, which recall the idea of work, movement, activity and free time. They are rematerialized, to confer a different importance. In tech silk, leather, luxury cotton, they replace the traditional shirt / belt / tie, giving a new energy and reality, even a younger attitude. Always respecting the importance of sartorial classicism, while moving towards the future ".
The representation and the actors on the catwalk
This is why in this meaning the representation of this thought, and that is the modality of the fashion show, assumes a lot of value. The installation that the AMO studio makes of the warehouses of the Prada Foundation in which the fashion show takes place appears as a free interpretation of a lesson by Gore Vidal on cinema.
Transformed into a mega movie theater with the audience seated in the appropriate armchairs, a mixed cast of young models and 10 world-famous actors parades into the room: Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Asa Butterfield, Jeff Goldblum, Damson Idris, Kyle MacLachlan, Tom Mercier, Jaden Michael, Louis Partridge, Ashton Sanders and Filippo Scotti. They are real men used to staging feelings, attitudes and passions which, as Vidal said, in the cinema take on a reality truer than reality itself, because every feeling is pushed to the extreme consequences without having the hesitation of the opportunity that exists in daily life.
In the same way, large bomber jackets that stretch and are tightened at the waist by a belt before widening towards the bottom to accommodate a high plush band do not suffer from the limits of reality. Or the coats, which have a tailored cut that defies bourgeois tailoring, which in addition to the edge also have two plush armrests. And overalls take on the role of daywear because the absence of the hierarchy must also include the equal dignity that that forms in the world of elegance and refinement, to which fashion continues to strive.
"This interaction makes it possible to confer merit and value on human commitment at all levels: work uniforms, perceived in this way, take on a new importance. Daily activity becomes a moment of opportunity and acquires relevance and value, emphasizing the importance of work within the company»Reads the note of the collection. To which Simons adds that «Diametrically opposed concepts are contrasted: the tailoring of the fundamental garments of the male wardrobe is combined with industrial elements, such as overalls and work clothes. The collection cannot be defined as either tailoring or streetwear, but it mixes both of these worlds by questioning".
So, the bourgeois suit, the tailored jacket that buttons like a false double-breasted, trousers with double bottoms and double belts, pijamas and turtleneck sweaters, the very severe leather coats with powerful shoulders, the plush bands of jackets and coats are not seasonal pretexts but work towards a change of meaning. "The collection celebrates the idea of work in all its different spheres and meanings. It refers to practicality and everyday life, but with a formal and not casual importance. Through these clothes we want to emphasize that everything a human being does is important. Every aspect of reality can be elegant and dignified. Elevated and celebrated »concludes Miuccia Prada who, once again, takes on the responsibility of putting herself at the head of a necessary, urgent and no longer postponable disruption.
Because from here fashion must communicate its meaning in a world that has already changed and is proving to have run more than those who want to stop change, and those who believe they can support it while remaining comfortable in the protections of dejà vu.
The vocabulary needs to be changed and in fashion words are clothes. In the end, this is the message of a collection that, in its own way, marks a turning point.
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