MILAN - Miuccia Prada says she is questioning the very meaning of summer and the exotic in her latest menswear designs.
In a presentation of the 2014 summer collection Sunday on the second day of Milan Fashion Week, Prada has delivered satin floral prints that are clearly associated with the Pacific, and pairs them not with the classic linen gin-and-tonic suit, but with a traditional double-breasted pin stripe.
Her reference point in the collection is clearly the 1940s. The designer has returned to the old-fashioned carry-on luggage — no trollies, please — with bold designs, including tropical florals and Hawaiian girls. The period references on the luggage were also backdrops to the runway: graphic prints of palm trees, postcard sunsets and images of water.
Prada did not limit herself to men's designs, and interspersed the male models with young women companions, who all wore different versions of the same smart dress. Prada worked with panels of solids and prints, gathering and pleating them around the curves, and adding beading and crystals for glamor. The women carried vintage shoulder bags and purses.
Men and women alike wore two-tone boxer shoes with colored ankle socks. There also were sneakers, with thick rubber toes.
The men's looks were classics — with Prada updates. She seemed to have sports on her mind: There were satiny boxer shorts, light-weight shirts based on a baseball jacket and a retro bowling ball bag. The designer also layered short-sleeved knitwear over shirts, often with clashing patterns.
The colour palate recalled stormy sea colours — grey to teal to black — and sunsets — yellow to terracotta to earthy brown and black.
Asked her inspiration backstage, Prada laughed and said: "I would have to tell my whole life," but then conceded that she was "questioning the cliche of summer and the exotic."