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Prada – The New Country Living

Godfrey Deeny
March 01st, 2009 @ 6:17 PM - Milan

If there was one message that emerged this weekend at the Milan women’s ready-to-wear season for fall 2009 it is that the era of permanent partying is over, and nowhere was that tidal change better expressed than at the Prada show this Sunday, March 1.

Italy’s most influential designer Miuccia Prada made the point clear in the opening looks, a series of rugged wool coats and suits in colors like russet, oak and mustard. She emphasized her view by making her models wear rubber waders, albeit with stacked platform designs. None of the models carried fishing rods, but they did don thick rural socks, their hair wind blown from a riverside stroll.

Prada also studiously avoided the whole Eighties revival. While half the shows in Milan featured power shoulders, she kept her silhouette leaner, and most of her dresses were sleeveless. Rarely has Prada shown so much fur, as designers look to renewable materials in an era that demands protection, as in this latest collection.

No Prada collection is complete without a touch of the baroque, this time present in some stacked court shoes with studded back fans, but above all in jade crystal flowers scattered across mink shift dresses and leather sheaths.

“It’s all about the death of the nightclub,” Prada said backstage, “and about a new desire for a rural retreat, where clothes are strong and sturdy.”

But if the Prada woman for fall is anything she is heroic, best exemplified by the brilliant finale where a casting of a new generation of models marched out in dresses of tough leather vertical strips and posed like a determined ‘style regiment’ against the black and wood-color stage set. Call it Joan of Arc meets Gladiator.

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