It was a visual overload at Prada’s Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear runway show.
For starters, the entire showspace had once again been completely reimagined from the previous Spring/Summer 2024 shows. We were stepping into an elevated glass platform and beneath it was a riverbed landscape of greens, rocks and pebbles, and at certain sections, flowing water. Chairs that seemed to be positioned rather haphazardly (but of course they weren’t) were typical rollers you’d find in an office setting—these became the show seats and might I add, pretty comfortable too.
And of course, the number of international celebrities that were greeted with screaming fans as they made their way into Fondazione Prada. Newly appointed Prada ambassadors Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Troye Sivan were there, as did a host of other fellow ambassadors such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Kentaro Sakaguchi and Win Metawin, as well as Korean stars Karina of Aespa and Lee Jae-wook. To say that it was chaotic in the showspace as editors gathered for sound bites and content would be an understatement.
But at the end of it all, it was really about the clothes and Prada hardly ever disappoints. As both the invite and showspace teased, co-creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons explored the traditional confines of office wear and simply turn them on their heads for a collection that was rebellious and youthful in nature.
The fit: The tie became sort of the centre of the entire collection, a symbol of that rigid connotations in an office setting. Nothing was altered when it came to the tie but its symbolic attribute was what pretty much tied the entire collection together.
Standard office dress codes were designed with skewed proportions. Suiting consisted of oversized blazers with slightly nipped-in waists and exaggerated lapels, as well as trousers that were worn low on the hips with signature Prada slim cut. And if you were expecting colours that corporate Joe would be at home in, you’d be sorely mistaken. Bold hues permeated throughout the collection with knit cardigans, jumpers and textured leggings—beautifully constructed that you wouldn't even notice a single seam—and those knit swim caps. There were no explanation for the latter but I gather if you're already one foot out the door in a corporate setting, you'd want to take the chance to head to the pool any chance you get, winter or not.
Oversized coats were consistent standouts (we all know how both Mrs Prada and Simons love their coats) especially when the inspiration transitioned from office uniforms to more public service types. Military- and navy-inspired outerwear were crafted in a number of materials and looked especially killer when they were individually worn and distressed by hand.
The details: Back to the trousers for a bit. Upon closer inspection, in place of waistbands, trousers were sewn together with leather belts. That's right: there's no longer any excuses not to wear a belt with your formal trousers. The belts came in a number of iterations too—from more classic colours and widths to the more extravagant woven ones that reached up to a width of 9cm.
The belts were also applied on to the bags. Re-Nylon backpacks and messenger bags came with the same range of leather belts for multiple ways of carrying each piece. A clear favourite was a backpack in washed navy with worn out details applied to every leather trim for a stunning distressed effect.
Three exceptional looks: Look 19's super cool reworking of the trench; look 36's oversized military coat that I now have on my wish list; and Prada's take on the Canadian tuxedo in look 45.
The takeaway: This is for all of us who'd escape the confines of a 9 to 5 in a heartbeat; and if that's not possible, at least the fashion channels the feeling.
View some of the key looks from the Prada Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection in the gallery below.