Miuccia Prada’s Neon Apocalypse

Also, Instagram Gifs

To view the full Prada Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear collection, click here.

When people started posting little animated Prada logos on their Instagram stories, I had to bite. I DMed a couple kids. Turns out I was using an old version of Instagram—here’s me thinking I’m an early adopter, and meanwhile, Miuccia’s beat me to it. Gifs have only been available for…hmm…like a month, and to coincide with Prada’s new collection, the brand released a series of the logos it teased at men’s in January—the monkey swinging from the Prada triangle, robots, a dinosaur, three bananas, and new fonts. Back in Jan, they were simply printed on the big wooden containers that created the runway, not even easily visible in the dim light. But as we approached the Fondazione Prada, stadium-sized neon signs were visible at a distance. They sprung up like sports beacons in the empty lot across from Prada, all the brand’s new logos, all also Gifs on my Instagram, and as we took elevators to the fourth and fifth floors, scooping up coupes of champagne as we sat, the huge floor-to-ceiling glass windows that faced us looked directly onto the bright neon logos. What struck me immediately was that Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada seem locked in some epic fashion match—like two fashion gods playing an eternal game—but there will be no winner and no loser. Like an endless debate between Socrates (Prada) and Plato (Simons), and each season, an ever-evolving transcendent fashion duologue. While both designers have produced collections with many similarities of late—technical sportswear, streetwear, etc.—just a few weeks ago, Simons showed a collection for Calvin Klein in the midst of a popcorn apocalypse—commentary on consumerism, and a glimpse at the Orwellian dystopia that seems ever more impending. Notably, his models walked to Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”—that bleak tune that decries humanity’s blind sublimation to a capitalist society. “And the people bowed and prayed, to the neon god they made…” Well, Raf asked for a neon god and he got many more than that. While his models were dressed in protective gear—mostly neutrals with some utilitarian high-vis orange—Prada seemed to posit an alternative argument. If the end is indeed nigh, what if we go out with a bright neon bang? Let’s light up the night in neon, and while her clothes were certainly protective, with the same identity cards she spoke of last season as suggestive of the control that is exerted on us—by the government and also by computers and machines—there was a futuristic festival here, like Hindu Holi, but in neon nylon and tulle, with neon Perspex paillettes, and hazmat-esque neon protective leg warmers worn over nuclear-proof boots. This gear was future rave-ready, with neon bucket hats reminiscent of the Happy Hardcore music movement  in Europe in the ’90s, and as the models walked to an eerie remix of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” and despite the fact I’ve seen Raf at parties—he knows how to have a good time—I couldn’t help feeling that Prada’s future looked like much more fun. 

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