Nostalgia is a dirty word for Miuccia Prada, which helps explain why her recent collections have seemed like such deliberate breaks not only with her own past but with much of fashion history. Following her latest show, she talked about wanting to confront an increasingly complex future, a reasonably rational justification for the mixed messages sent out by her new menswear. The collection gloried in opposites: the formality of a tailored suit paired with woolly socks and sandals; dull felt vs. techno fabrics; long coats worn over shorts. Those coats looked almost sci-fione came in hazchem-yellow patent leatherbut thanks to Velcro clasps at the back, they also flared out in a way that suggested ancient-samurai garb.
The impressionistic interweaving of past, present, and future is something Miuccia has always excelled at. It's why her shows can occasionally feel like experiments in implanted memories, an idea which was expanded upon this time in the wall projections of ads for mock web sites (specially created by Rem Koolhaas's studio). The future they proposed looked a little dystopian, an impression underscored by the hard-edged electronic soundtrack and by the clothes themselves. There was little obvious luxury in the plainness of a felted smock top or a pair of printed-plastic shorts. Details were strictly utilitarian, like the tabs that closed the ankles on suit trousers (perfect for cyclists, when all the oil finally runs out). But what stuck in the mind was the flagrant, unyielding sheen of patent leather (purple blouson, orange shorts, green slip-ons): Here was the most obvious expression of Miuccia's confrontational refusal to wax nostalgic.