Sea change: Prada show celebrates post-Covid re-emergence at the beach

For a brand known for its angular, urban and emotionless aesthetic, it’s quite something to see a Prada show take place on a joyful, life enhancing beach.

And yet, here we are for the brand’s spring/summer 2022 show. The latest collection from fashion dream team Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada sees models leaving the suffocating confines of a tunnel-like underground club-cum-runway lit in devilish red, for the aquamarine shores of a heavenly, sunkissed Sardinian beach.

In a show that used the phrases “tunnel to joy” and “urgency of feelings” as its key words, this journey was clearly a metaphor for people re-entering society after the pandemic. Models were shown boogying on a lone square raft on the sea and half-immersed in the water, in some simulacrum of post-Covid baptismal re-emergence. Clothing-wise, the sparse and memorable collection spoke to the liminal place men have found themselves in with regard to their wardrobe.

Models walking in the ‘tunnel-like underground club-cum-runway lit in devilish red’
Models walking in the ‘tunnel-like underground club-cum-runway lit in devilish red’ Photograph: Prada

As men are gradually coming back to their normal lives, they are grappling with a sartorial nowhere land: neither dressing in their slovenly sweatpants, nor quite ready to get back into their buttoned-up office suits. Prada nodded to the fresh strangeness of getting dressed again: there was a conscious, jumble sale oddness to the choice of garments in the collection.

We saw romper suits mixed with square-toed flip-flops, rubberised ‘flasher’ macs and crocheted Pellegrina capes. There were a lot of black socks, clompy black brogues and oversized suit jackets which all felt fetishistic when worn with short shorts: a comment perhaps on the memory of the commute, so near yet so far away.

Models emerge on to the sunkissed Sardinian beach.
Models emerge on to the sunkissed Sardinian beach. Photograph: Prada

One look which appeared again and again was, surprisingly, the Prada bucket hat, decorated with its trademark triangle logo. The multi purpose hat has had many lives. Invented to keep the rain off fishers, it was later used to protect the necks of troops in the Vietnam war before transitioning to a fashion item for early hip-hop legends and Reni from The Stone Roses (Miuccia Prada was also key in bringing the hat back to the catwalk in the 90s).

But in this spring/summer collection, the omnipresence of the head covering was tethered to the unique and specific moment society finds itself in June 2022: the bucket hat as functional, protective, a little bit silly, and yet extremely chic.


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