22-Aug, 04:12

05:58, May 08 131 0

2017-05-08 05:58:02
In Milan, Prada Holds Its First Solo Cruise Show

MILAN — From the creation of Fondazione Prada to underwriting creative exhibits across the globe, Miuccia Prada has long made a point of walking the line between fashion and art. So it was fitting that her first stand-alone cruise collection show was held in the Osservatorio, the foundation’s new photography gallery nestled under the glass and iron domes of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where Prada opened its first store in 1913. And that the show was held on Sunday, just before the glamorous whirl of the opening parties for the Venice Biennale this week.

Bianca Jagger, Courtney Love and Susan Sarandon were some of the notables who arrived under slate gray skies and the occasional raindrop to take a spot in the front row. Around 80 guests, most dressed (unsurprisingly) in head-to-toe Prada, had been treated earlier to a three-course lunch one floor below at Marchesi, the luxury pasticceria owned by the Italian fashion house. There was risotto. Poached chicken salad. A never-ending flow of ice-cold prosecco. And a torrent of chatter from guests like Edward Enninful, the newly crowned editor in chief of British Vogue, Hamish Bowles, the European editor at large for American Vogue, and a pajama-clad Derek Blasberg.

Others were not even talking about fashion. “I love Venice, but people often forget that I’m actually an artist,” Ms. Love, in purple platforms and a python miniskirt, explained to Carine Roitfeld, founder and editor of CR Fashion Book, as they waited for the show to begin. “I’m not going to the festival this year as a buyer — I’m going as a potential seller.” Ms. Sarandon, who had just flown in from Los Angeles, sat smiling alongside in a long black leather coat and Prada brogues.

“It’s actually very difficult to be a rock star turned artist,” Ms. Love continued, describing several of her autobiographical sketches. “There’s a lot of them these days who aren’t very good. Plus, people don’t like it if they feel like they can’t properly define you.”

Mrs. Prada also actively resists labels. And the way she approached this increasingly lucrative interseason collection was a case in point.

“I don’t like the word cruise, or resort, or any of these types of descriptions,” she said backstage after the show, repeatedly declining to commit on whether the show would become an annual fixture at the gallery. “So old-fashioned. Like maybe useful, but really, they are not real or interesting. For me, a show should just be a show.”

In this case, it was a show with highly feminine clothes — think pleated and scalloped lingerie looks bedecked in a flurry of crystal, sequin and feather adornments, largely in a sorbet palette — framed by a somewhat industrial venue, all burnished silver pipes, clean lines and bright lights. That setting in turn crept into the collection via architectural and sports-infused looks, including deconstructed tops with angular puff sleeves, off-the-shoulder belted waterproof jackets, hoodies worn as an open V-neck, and knee-high soccer socks with cutout sneakers or open-toe sandals. The Prada logo was stamped on ankles, hems and hipbones. It was a musing, Mrs. Prada later declared, on contrasts and confrontation.

“I wanted to work on contemporary, which means somehow sport, but to bring it into a kind of metamorphosis, into elegance. How to make sport elegant and vice versa,” she said. “I wanted it to feel modern.”

She added that she had also been particularly inspired by the artistic grandeur and beauty of the Galleria, a neo-Classical shopping arcade in the heart of her home city. Its vaulted glass roof was reflected in a series of transparent shift dresses, offset by the gallery’s large windows overlooking the skyline and all-but-endless abstract mirror paneling, all created by OMA, the firm of the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.

“I love transparency at the moment. Sometimes I work with something I don’t like, but this actually, I like,” Mrs. Prada said. “Maybe because it’s a naked body: These clothes are both delicate but underlined by sports. Sports and sensuality are both about an obsession for the body; both are interested in the body.”

Later, the festivities moved across town to the Fondazione Prada contemporary art complex for the opening of a show by the Italian artist and filmmaker Francesco Vezzoli about the influence of television on Italian society. The sun — absent from the day’s proceedings — finally broke through the clouds, illuminating the vast spread of Negronis, vitello tonnato, asparagus, beans and prawn heads like a still-life painting.