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Prada’s princesses show the label still has what it takes to shake up fashion week

Some of Milan Fashion Week’s biggest labels have something to prove this time with sales slipping and questions round their relevance. Gucci did that with ‘attic chic’ romanticism and on Thursday its big rival Prada did it by doing what the label does best.

Miuccia Prada and her team sent out a collection that was just so. Strong shapes, strong key items. None of the boho-ish casualness of some collections this fashion month.

There was a retro 60s edge in the sharp cut of the ankle-grazing pantsuits and the empire line cocktail dresses while a futuristic edge was added by the magnified digital print of a molecule and Prada’s trademark non-traditional embellishment. The fabrics added to that edge too with a neoprene-like bonded jersey that gave structure to those dresses.

The press and buyers loved it, praising the fondant colour palette, the long gloves in ostrich leather, the rubbery sock boots and Mary Jane shoes.

They also loved that fact that it was about as far from sombre as it’s possible to get. After Prada’s black-dominated menswear show last month few had expected an ultra-feminine celebration of colour and girlishness.

Miuccia Prada herself said here models were meant to look like fantasy princesses, but she added that this was said with a sense of irony. Will that sense of irony help reverse the Prada brand’s sales decline? The reaction yesterday suggests it could.

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