With this thrillingly prescient presentation, Miuccia Prada once again proved that she is peerless in her ability to distill current events into a fashion moment. Typically cryptic backstage, she said the show was about "men's forbidden dreams," foremost among them battle and hunting. Hence the video screens that ringed the catwalk, depicting a 15th-century painting of medieval warfare by Paolo Uccello that was chopped and changed so that it read like a 21st-century computer game. This face-off between ancient and modern, barbarism and "civilization," animated the collection.

Quilting on a coat sleeve suggested antique garb. A shirt of leather chevrons with elbow pads looked like the sort of thing one would wear to joust, as did the knitted balaclavas, which stood in for knights' helmets. Shoes and boots were stamped with a heraldic pattern, and belts and bags were buckled with mythological griffins.

If "men at war" was the big picture, ancillary themes were vulnerability and protection, the former emphasized by chests bared under sweaters or jackets, the latter by the doubling-up of coat over coat or blouson over blouson. The parade of morphing animal prints on shirts, ties, and outerwear was extracted from old paintings. Animal-printed fur also covered the crash helmets that were the show's favored accessory. However fantastical they sound, they were a reflection of the enduringly successful blend of creativity and commerce that grounds Prada. Everyone rides scooters in Italy, so everyone needs a helmet. Even the tricky-looking trouser with its cropped, tabbed ankle has market potential—Miuccia clearly feels her warriors are ready for a new silhouette.