A paper house provided the backdrop for Prada’s Spring Summer 2023 menswear collection. Designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, it embodied the collection themes addressing “naivety, childhood and simplicity." The materiality of paper seemed to align with Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons’ vision for the show, called Prada Choices.
“Paper is a simple material, but it enables us to articulate an intention; it is the basic surface onto which we express our ideas. In this project we wanted to explore its qualities as an architectural element, almost like children would give shape to their imagination” Rem Koolhaas' studio said in an interview with GQ.
In the house that Prada built, men have the freedom to wear and pair archetypical garments as they wish.
Prada in a statement said the tools of this collection are direct, recognisable, archetypal pieces – suits, overcoats, sweaters, shirts, denim, leather. Known garments are reinvented through context. There is always a complexity of thought behind apparently simple results, a process of refinement to uncover the fundamentals of dress. This also poses questions about masculinity, challenging the norms on how men dress.
Here individual garments were paired in new combinations, being classic of themselves, say a striped sweater, a checked jacket or leather shorts. Paired together they are meant to evoke memories of childhood, domestication or sophistication.
These were expressed in looks of trousers cropped at the ankle and worn with a modernist cowboy boot. Short briefs were styled with coats and elongated cardigans. Prada said it abbreviated proportions, with lean trousers anchoring the tailoring, blouson jackets had collars removed, and wool rib sweaters rested on bottoms, not quite long enough to be tucked in. Here the coloured stripes spoke of something retro, even childish, in the way only Prada can combine hues in unexpected ways.
Leather vest tops and long sleeves tucked into zipped leather utility shorts, spoke of evocative youth. It perhaps takes naïve courage for men to dress with so much leg on show, which also speaks of the freedom of choice to be able to do so.
Faded denim felt revitalised and fresh, with shirt jackets tucked into jeans, collars removed and only a small triangle logo visible on the coin pocket.
The logo has made a subtle return to Prada's mainline collections since Raf Simon joined as co-creative director. With triangles stitched on bags, outerwear and blousons, there is a hint of Bottega’s V logo, positioned similarly on garments, like centre front and back.
The House the Prada built
The paper house, Prada said, was to conceptualise intimacy. “Reflective of the human and the real - the quotidian and everyday, in material and image, both fashioned into something exceptional - it functions both as a backdrop to the clothes and a protagonist unto itself, another context that challenges our perception.”