Several seasons back, Miuccia Prada set womenswear afire with a collection that plumbed the heart of darkness underneath society's veneer of civilization. With her latest collection for men, she offered a cuddlier version of the same ideasomewhere between a caveman and a baby-boy doll," as she herself defined it in her typically cryptic way. What started out as a relatively straightforward search for a new silhouette ended up as an extraordinary torrent of big, fuzzy-fabric tops over narrow, uniformly stirrup-panted bottoms. Brightly colored angora topswith matching angora leggingsare unlikely to make the average butch bloke's Fall 2007 wish list, but they cued Miuccia's musings on the status of the modern male.
She seems to have settled on intense vulnerability as his Achilles heel. Hence a gutsy tweed duffel coat fading away in dégradé, or conservative flannels equally distressed in gradations from dark to light gray. Such effects were achieved by bleeding-edge fabric technology, which underscored Prada's unique knack for using industrial techniques to spark atavistic emotional responses. Whether the models were swathed in creamy teddy-bear plush or shaggy black fur, the key word was mutation, as the collection trawled a disorienting half-world between man and beast. And how many designers get you thinking like that?