Prada's comic book naïvety
The Milan menswear season began for many Friday morning with a visit to the Fondazione Prada to experience Alejandro González Iñárritu's remarkable Carne Y Arena, his virtual reality film about Mexican refugees crossing the desert into the United States.
The season climaxed Sunday evening with a natty and brilliantly staged collection by Prada whose theme was the contrast between the naivety of real life compared to the harshness of virtual reality.
“I think we confront the contrast between our own real world and virtual reality every day. I wanted the opposite of virtual reality -- android human and simple,” explained Miuccia Prada backstage.
The actual collection kicked off with young guys in sporty jumpsuits – in nylon, of course, as this is Prada – black, red and powder blue. Their ankles nipped with logo Velcro straps, their backs bearing backpacks; others sported great silk summer shirts in comic book prints. The same prints starred in the dramatic overhaul of the former factory that is the Prada’s show-space. Giant drawings of human features, cityscapes, postal boxes and housing complexes by AMO and Michael Rock with illustrations by Ollie Schrauwen and James Jean. Whole outfits were created using their drawings.
“I don’t know why I like these comics, maybe because they are little fragments of life or information we pick up in the media,” said Prada of the beautiful decoration which extended all the way to the show seating.
To a mixed-up discordant soundtrack, her cast marched in athletic sandals or retro 50s winkle pickers. All shiny and new, unlike the wrecked footwear – from children’s disused cowboy boots to muddy peasant clogs - found in the desert of the Mexican-American border, which were placed inside the opening room of Iñárritu's remarkable Carne Y Arena. The detritus of lost dreams. Before one put on a virtual reality mask and witnessed the horrors of encountering US border patrols at night in a desert. Where the contrast between reality and a technologically enhanced world was rarely more stark.
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