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Milan Fashion Week – Prada moves from austerity to frivolity

Another week means another city; as the world’s glitterati and fashionista’s descend upon the glamour and hedonism of Milan. It’s a week that’s sure to be significantly different from the conservative – although rather well received – London Fashion Week.

One designer who’s already received critical appraisal is, one of my favourites, Muiccia Prada. Prada threw aside last season’s wholesome, 1940s wartime “make do and mend” girl and replaced her with a more frivolous attitude.

Gone are the boiled wool suits and leather waders, replaced by a light-hearted aesthetic of crystal chandelier dresses, tropical prints, bordelloesque perspex shoes and transparent bags.

The set design was that of shifting hotel corridors and seedy nightclub entrances with conspicuous red lights.

Speaking after her show last night, Miuccia Prada explained she was influenced by “the imagination of corridors. The corridors of hotels are mysterious, there is both high and low life.” She also cited the distraction of modern life as another inspiration, mixing the city and the beach in the collection.

Her designs featured matching jackets and shorts, stiff tops that resembled capes, embellished blouses and dresses made to look like chandeliers.

“The transparency was the idea of light and of this sexy woman walking the corridors,” she said.

Prada was not playing peekaboo only with the overtly sexy crystal dresses, there were glimpses of white cotton briefs and shirt-tails revealed under loose fitting running shorts.

“I have a passion for knickers,” she joked. She also worked with revealing sheer fabrics and cut-outs.

Other stand-out pieces from her collection included the unfinished narrow knee-length shorts that looked as though someone had just lopped them off with a pair of scissors.

Prada explained she had worked for months on the prints of beaches and palm trees in yellows and sages. It’s this mix of “contemporary reality” and nostalgia that Prada believes will make it sellable. And a hint of what’s to come? “Platforms are dead,” she said. “Well maybe until the next show.”