Prada's Come To Jesus Moment

With a collection that was awash in nylon, the storied Milanese brand had a “Come to Jesus” moment and decided to focus on innovation and practicality rather than frills. A salute to its “Prada Sport” heyday of the pre-Sept. 11th, carefree 90s, Prada innovated on classic styles like rain caps and simple anoraks with the latest in bonded fabrics and the most updated weatherproof materials. With the ath-leisure market on the rise and its sales on the lacklustre side, it’s no wonder why Prada opted out of the irony and risky, artistic-driven motifs of the past few years, and aimed for functionality over aesthetics instead.

PRADA FW18 runway show in Milan. Picture by Valerio Mezzanotti.

To underscore its attention to its manufacturing prowess, a warehouse space on Viale Ortles 35 was outfitted with shelves and boxes emblazoned with Prada labels from the 90s – including a deconstructed version of the classic triangle logo that was a true status symbol of the late 90s, when shows like Sex in the City’s fame grew in tandem with Miuccia Prada’s collections. It was the first time Prada showed in the Viale Ortles space, just steps away from Fondazione Prada. Diving into its Milanese heritage, the brand also focused on creating partnerships with the design world, which this city most famously attracts.

The 'Prada Invites' project invited four well-known architects and designers – Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, Herzog & de Meuron, and Rem Koolhaas – to create a piece for the A/W 2018 menswear collection. Rem Koolhaas designed the 2015 Fondazione Prada. Goyard and Louis Vuitton have enticed generations of customers with their linen, cotton, and hemp canvas bags… and Prada is synonymous with asserting nylon as a luxury material (said to be a favourite of Miuccia Prada herself). “The focus is shifted to the industrial side of the multi-faceted Prada industry,” Prada said in a statement. Prada, a listed company on the Hong Kong stock exchange, books about three billion euros in revenue per year. In 2016, its sales dipped 10 percent, as sales in key markets like China began to slow.

See the whole Prada FW18 menswear collection here