Conveying innocence, playfulness and simplicity, Prada and OMA designed a set for Milan Men’s Fashion Week that was more than meets the eye.
This fashion week was no different.
Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons‘ SS23 collection debuted on June 19 at Milan’s menswear fashion week showcasing an array of norm-core outfits. There’s splendidly tailored suits, lots of denim and some leather shorts; a collection which feels simple but is Prada’s take on impactful and wearable fashion.
Had any of the guests looked down at the seats they had been placed in, they would’ve realised they were sat on cardboard. The cardboard chairs, in turn, were placed inside a mock-up house built as if an architectural model had been blown up to make the guests and models look disproportionately small. The set was a play on scale just as much as it was a play on materials, where the models and guests felt doll-like innocence by simply being present in the space.
Surrounding the bizarre Prada set, which at first glance looked very simple and un-enticing compared to some of the other more extravagant Fashion Week runways (namely Versace, Louis Vuitton or Fendi), was the underlying concept of sustainability. The set’s floor, with a soft and brown texture, was prepared to be demounted and recycled. The hanging paper walls were built out of material that can easily be repurposed. It was a statement against high fashion’s unsustainable fashion tendencies, such as producing high amounts of waste.
Sustainability, in fact, is at the core of a lot of Rem Koolhas‘ architecture work. He often speaks openly and theorises on the unsustainable development of skylines, as well as the way architecture often equates sustainability to greening, a practice which leaves fundamental problems untouched.
Prior to starting the mastermind of OMA‘s design process, Rem Koolhas was told the theme of the SS23 collection was ingenuity, childhood and simplicity. That’s how paper came about as a concept; a material which is at the base of what every designer does, and the start of any creative venture.
The punctured windows and cartoonish proportions of OMA‘s set felt like they had been drawn by a child. This simple naiveté complimented the gingham, a material which in itself feels nostalgic. It draped the set, as well as being used extensively for the fashion house’s SS23 collection.
This combination, or convergence, between architecture and fashion, isn’t the first or last we will see of this iconic duo of designers, both of whom exhibit strong feelings about social and political matters in their work.
For Prada’s Autumn Winter 2022 show, OMA installed tunnel-like runways to reference Space Odyssey, for example. We can only speculate about what architectural collaborations the duo will conceive next, but they will certainly surpass expectations.