Review: Prada autopsies dangerous romance in pursuit of wearable beauty


What is it like to give your heart to a monster? Or when war rips you from the arms of your lover? What kind of romance lives in these dark, dangerous and desperate places? If you were sitting at the Prada fall and winter 2019 runway show here Thursday night you’d know the answer — and exactly what it would look like in wearable form.

That’s because Miuccia Prada’s “Anatomy of Romance” collection explored — or perhaps autopsied is more appropriate — the decidedly less sunny side of romantic love.

That meant riffs on some of traditional romantic symbolism including flowers — some printed, others in three dimensions, rendered in fabric and affixed to dresses and skirts as if strewn by an enthusiastic paramour — and lace which was used with a heavy hand in skirts, dresses, tops and capes (the functionality of a black lace floral cape escapes us but it sure looked pretty).


Other pieces in the collection made the love connection the long way around such as the range of strong-shouldered military-inspired jackets.(The strong shoulder has been having a moment — see the fall / winter 2019 Fendi and Victoria Beckham collections for starters.) “Military clothing imagines a past, of the lost subsequently reunited,” was how the show notes explained the presence of fleece-collared bomber jackets, utilitarian cargo-pocketed flight-suit dresses and olive drab Army overcoats with brass buttons.

(To be honest, we thought the Max Mara show that kicked off the day went big on pockets until we saw that the stompy black boots at Prada belted with zippered coin-purse-sized pouches at the calf.)

And then there were the pieces that directly keyed into the scary side of love in the most over-the-top way: Frankenstein’s monster and his high-haired best beloved whose ghoulish visages appeared on the front of dresses and tops in what the show notes refer to as a wedding portrait and adding: “An unlikely love story, a hero ceaselessly searching for affection. But he is a man-made creation, an emblem of a search for the sublime, like fashion.”

Frankenstein’s monster and his bride cast as not only romantic role models but the horror genre’s first couple of fashion? Never mind a runway collection, that’s a sitcom we’d love to see.

For more musings on all things fashion and style, follow me at @ARTschorn