Prada explores lightness with windswept translucent chiffon for next summer

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MILAN (AP) — Prada achieved a state of unbearable lightness in a series of translucent chiffon dresses that gently cosseted the form, trailed by wispy strands of the finest organza.

Designers Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons aptly dubbed the series of ethereal, windswept dresses previewed during Milan Fashion Week on Thursday as “Haze.” They never altered shape, only the shades of muted pastels shifted. They were paired with bright satin mules, either flats or with small triangular heels.

As they did during menswear in June, models walked past a wall of clear, oozing slime, which pooled, then drained down an industrial grate runway, this season in peach. Miuccia Prada said there was a thematic link.

“The whole thing started from lightness,’’ Prada told reporters backstage. “We wanted to do a really light, light, light show. Usually, we … tend to do heavy. It was a challenge to do light.”

Simons said it took the pair the full three years of their collaboration to date to figure out a “light and fluid” approach as a counterpoint to their exploration of weightier topics, like uniforms and decoration.

“The collection is about fluidity, and movement and material that you maybe can’t really grasp easily as solid,” Simons said.

Not that uniforms and decoration were ignored. Chiffon capes gave diaphanous elegance to high-waist belted shorts and a worker’s shirt. A leather utility vest was decorated with swirls of crystals, and there were jumpsuits with notched lapels. As in menswear, long fringe created a curtain over prints. Crushed velvet dresses were decorated with crystals, studs and metal eyelets.

“They are beautiful clothes for today,” Prada said.

Belts were the accessory of the season, especially with long trailing fringe: tinsel silver, coppery gold, leather with eyelets or silky strands.

The new collection featured a reissued bag originally made by Miuccia Prada’s grandfather, Mario Prada, in 1913, a link back to the brand’s lineage as a leather goods company. The gathered handbag features a clasp closure shaped like the mythological face with bulging eyes and tongue stuck out — just as it did in Mario’s day. “He was very eccentric, even back then,” Prada said.

The updated versions are made in leather or the brand’s trademark recycled nylon, Re-nylon.

The backstage surge included Scarlett Johansson and Benedict Cumberbatch, as the writers strike in Hollywood may have left the stars with time to fill fashion’s front rows.

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