Monday, January 18, 2021

BEAUTY: Clothing--Prada and Raf Simons

For this FW '21-'22 collection during Milano Moda Uomo, two titans of fashion collaborated: Mrs. Prada worked with Raf Simons, the first time the pair have co-created a collection. And true to my prediction, the pair showed a COVID-quarantine inspired collection but instead of day pajamas, the pair decided to explore that old garment, the long john. In a post-show Zoom press conference, Prada and Simons said the collection was intended to work on an emotional level and not a narrative level. "We started talking very early on about what kind of piece could represent something very close to the body, literally being almost a representation of the body. We were looking for something that could be maybe a symbolic piece for all these kinds of feelings that we feel right now."

And the long john is a piece of clothing that evokes all sorts of feelings: it can be perceived as an infantilized garment like a child's onesie or romper, it can be seen as an Old West cowboy macho reference ("Sexual cowboy," as Simons put it! while Prada said her reference was "rock n' roll"), it is something that completely reveals the body in its outline but cocoons it as the same time. Warmth and comfort at the heart. I think that is the COVID response. They showed long johns of mohair, fine gauge knit, and Shetland wool, in patterns reminiscent of Art Deco or 70s English wallpaper, worn alone or as a foundation garment worn under shirts, trousers, suits, and outer coats. The video here presents a show of the garments in a Rem Koolhaas-OMA-designed set of fur-lined rooms (more comfort and warmth) for ten minutes, and the next thirty minutes are a wonderful, informative Q&A session with Prada and Simons and a FaceTime gathering of fashion students from around the world.

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