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Milan Fashion Week: Prada and Versace Get Sexy

  • September 25, 2021

In their first joint live show, for example, Mrs. Prada and Raf Simons, her co-creative director, undressed their own preconceptions regarding the sartorial clichés of elegance and femininity (“Trains, corsets, evening gowns,” Mr. Simons listed in the news release) deconstructing them and subverting them — the better to transform them for the modern day.

Miniskirts in the kind of double-face satin once worn at court wrapped the thighs with a sash looped around the back, the end flying out behind like a train. Above, there were beat-up leather motorcycle jackets, often worn with nothing underneath. Cotton shirts came with unlaced corsetry, and those unbuttoned dresses had stays on the outside. There was a lot of black and gray, shot through with bursts of color: magenta, lime green, egg yolk yellow, shell pink. Shoes were wickedly pointy, with princess heels.

In the finale, sleeveless satin mini shifts were cut with deep vees in the back, to expose the kind of lingerie pants once worn by pinup girls but remade here in some sort of stretch material. The dress had a bow on the bottom, the ends again dangling behind. It was a tease for the mind as well as the body.

And, as has been the case since Mrs. Prada and Mr. Simons joined forces in one of those it-could-be-great but it-could-be-a-disaster partnerships, it was like watching a living conversation unfold: between past and present, one designer and another and — this time — one country and another. The live event in Milan was mirrored in a live event in Shanghai, occurring simultaneously and each live-streamed to the other on giant screens dotted around the show spaces. That’s one way to couple up.

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