Nearly a year ago the news of Raf Simons joining Prada as co-creative director rocked the fashion industry. While some were skeptics, many fashion fanatics were looking forward to what would become of this groundbreaking collab. Both Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons are known for their unconventional vision, however, Prada (the brand) has a long history of clean lines and classic colors while Simons' brand is synonymous with sportswear and youth culture. Consumers certainly got a taste of what a Prada/Simons design house looks like during their first collection together last season, but A/W ‘21 menswear hones in what each designer has to offer.
The collection, titled ‘Possible Feelings’, was inspired by our personal and intimate desires for contact and relationships- something many designers have explored during the COVID-19 pandemic. From Prada’s corner, we see mint green, soft pink, and vibrant patterns, and from Simons’, we see sporty knits and 80s inspired suiting. With this collection, layering is key with the house referring to it as a “second skin” and skin-tight silhouettes play into the juxtaposition of revealing yet covered up, something that can be found in both fashion and relationships.
Key pieces in this collection include oversized jackets with fitted layers underneath and bold patterns balanced out with solid neutral pieces. Menswear has been known for being classic and minimal, however, a resurgence of more feminine styles has taken over the runways lately. This collection is the perfect balance of both. We have bright and playful moments a la Prada with dark, cutting-edge pieces Simons has perfected over the years.
The standout look of this collection was an oversized black utility jacket with a contrasting red and black patterned lining layered over a black and white jacquard set. This is the look that best sums up Prada and Simons and offers equal parts of their design aesthetics.
With the pandemic still in full swing, comfort and ease have taken priority in many wardrobes. Prada gives the onesie a high-end spin with jacquard bodysuits. From a distance these one-pieces could be mistaken for a matching suit and serve as the perfect base to layer over, leading to a comfortable but still effortlessly chic look. With a polished blazer and dress shoes, they are perfect for a red carpet, but could also be paired with a sneaker and sporty bomber jacket for a daytime look. Either option screams Timothee Chalamet for sure.
The use of leather was also a standout in this collection. Leather is a staple during the A/W season and this means it can get tired real fast, but Prada gives their jackets a refresh with a vinyl-looking finish and bright colors. They also took the conventional peacoat and updated it for 2021 with the same leather finish
With brands that have as long of a history as Prada, it can be hard to stay fresh and relevant. While some A/W ‘21 menswear collections felt tired, Prada was refreshing. It blended classic themes with new, exciting details. Equal parts masculine and feminine, it breaks some design cycles we’ve seen the last few seasons. Considering that this is only the second collection with Raf and Miuccia as Co-Creative Directors, and the first menswear collection, there is no doubt that this partnership holds a lot of promise.