Prada’s Menswear Show Was Brimming With Youthful Optimism

By Stephen Doig
Daily Telegraph UK
Models walk the runway at the Prada spring-summer 2025 collection in Milan. Photo / AP

The Italian luxury brand’s spring-summer 2025 menswear collection featured creased shirts, low-slung trousers and plenty of colour, as Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons explored the ‘clothesiness’ of clothes in Milan.

It was fortunate that Miuccia Prada’s new collection came deliberately creased and crumpled in parts, because, after broiling heat and bullish bouncers in the hysteria of the crush to enter the show (it’s not all glamour, this fashion show malarkey), no one was feeling all that fresh or put together. Just as well that Mrs Prada was a picture of calm gentility, as she talked through her thoughts on men’s dressing for the 21st century, alongside her collaborator, Raf Simons.

“We wanted to express youthful optimism, especially in a bad moment. But like to put things together in a very simplistic way,” said Mrs Prada of the rave atmosphere, not just in the throngs of people but the pounding techno music and the tiny tops and mirrored shades that Gen Zers could happily wear to Berlin’s notorious Berghain nightclub. The colours were certainly full of youthful energy: zinging neons, vivid grape, tomato reds, apple green; a deliberately naive Crayola box of block shades.

Models walk the runway at the Prada spring-summer 2025 collection in Milan. Photo / AP
Models walk the runway at the Prada spring-summer 2025 collection in Milan. Photo / AP

The design duo — Miuccia Prada is 75 and there are rumours of the alliance being a succession plan — also looked at the “clothesiness” of clothes themselves; the way they rumple and twist, the way they age; skew-whiff collars, creased lines, shirt hems tied and knotted. There was a theme of borrowing too; faded patinas on leather, quaintly fringed loafers.

“We wanted to convey this idea of clothes that you already live with, that have had some form of a life. Things from the mum, dad, grandmother, grandfather,” said Simons. The silhouette was certainly one for a man whose midlife spread is still some decades away; the waif-like boys bared their midriffs and jutting hip bones in low-slung trousers and sprayed-to-the-body, snug little knit tops and cropped shirting. Dad bods need not apply.

The pair also played with the notion of fakery in fashion, creating a kind of “now you see it, now you don’t” effect for certain elements of the clothes — a motif of belts printed on waistbands, undulating layers that were actually a pattern, or heavy wool trousers that were actually lightweight technical material.

“What is fake and what is true has become a radical concept,” said Prada, perhaps theorising on the fake news phenomenon (not that she’d ever be so obvious as to say so). “Things are not what they seem, it’s really an invitation to observe things, to look at what makes up our clothes.”

Head designers Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons after the show in Milan. Photo / AP
Head designers Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons after the show in Milan. Photo / AP

And what makes up the bottom line, too: Prada Group’s sales increased 11 per cent to $2.06 billion (€1.18b) this year, a healthy leap at a time when other luxury brands are tremoring amidst global uncertainty. Prada is creative, not a design-by-numbers designer driven by commercial necessity — the accessories and fragrances take care of that on their own — but courting the new generation of luxury consumers is a smart move — the bucket hats, timeless tinted glasses and baggy proportions of Prada in the 1990s have recently been discovered afresh by Gen Z. This time around, Mrs Prada gave them away plenty to talk about.

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