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Prada goes for preppy, prints and 'Partridge Family'

January 18, 2010 |  9:02 am
Prada_Mens_AW10_Runway_collection2 MILAN, Italy -- In the most colorful, upbeat men's runway show since her Spring/Summer 2008 collection's garden party romp, Miuccia Prada managed to mine the American preppy canon alongside bold streetwear style patterns that included colorful puzzle-piece camouflage and dizzying geometrics on what appeared to be ballistic nylon outerwear and bags.

As the first of the navy blue blazers, beige trousers and camel-colored trench coats hit the runway, it seemed like such a departure from the traditional Prada DNA that I literally checked my show invite to make sure I was at the right show.

But as the models made their second pass back up the runway you could notice it was all filtered through the Prada lens, and the designer toyed with the traditional ever so slightly, so sweaters stopped above the Prada_womens_prefall_runway_milan navel and sleeves crept below the wrist, and outwear pieces had generously cut lapels and many collars were double layered -- one of shearling, shiny vinyl or nylon, with a second over top in a knit fabric. 

The collection was shown against a futuristic backdrop crammed with odd pairings of industrial iconography -- images of everyday objects like subway route maps, roads, exit signs and pie charts along with what appeared to be non-sequitur phrases and hybrids ("banana phone," "square compass" and "ice cream exit" were among those I noticed)

In the ideal future city of the designer's mind, it seems, one can be both preppy and Prada, peppered with bubblegum camouflage just as easily by an Italian luxury label as by a cult Japanese streetwear brand like Bathing Ape (which has built a good part of its business on similar bright, swirly camo).

The show turned out to be a bit of a hybrid itself; for the first time, Prada included her women's pre-fall collection in the men's runway show, and while the two collections had much in common, some of the women's pieces had a distinctly '70s vibe to them -- particularly a  Prada meets "Partridge Family" pink pant suit that managed to balance somewhere just between tackiness and one of the freshest, things I've seen in years.

As the Partridge family might sing it, "Come On, Get Happy" indeed.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: Looks from the Prada men's Fall/Winter 2010 runway show, which included women's resort collection pieces as well. Credit: Peter Stigter / For The Times. Video by Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times

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Prada Fall / Winter 2010 runway photos

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Prada Men's AW10 Milan Runway Show from Adam Tschorn on Vimeo.

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