#​SuzyMFW: ​Prada’s Fight For Women

​“​The show is a bit militant – I don’t think that women have achieved enough yet by far,​”​ said Miuccia Prada standing against a wall of giant heads with faces that were ​aggressive, wistful, angry or sad.

​”​It’s about women cartoonists since the ​Thirties, when women stared to work with such fun, spirit and intelligence,” said the designer.

So even before a model in a tailored shiny raincoat​,​ or a striped mannish shirt decked out with a pretty pink Japanese bow, had put a metal-studded sneaker on the runway, there were the faces. They were such bold floor-to-ceiling images that they dwarfed the models, physically​ ​suggesting what the designer was saying​: there was a long way to grow before reaching the heights of womanhood.

Some of the clothes expressed this in a graphic way by literally taking the cartoons and printing pages of images on strictly tailored coats. The figures, constricted in the squares, faced​-​off the vast females on the walls.

The show itself was quintessentially Prada, with tailoring to the fore, although this was a spring/summer 2018 collection. The sensibility was urgent and urban with strict coats or jackets. Even a pleated dress came out with a floral Japanese surface with a striped shirt with a stiff collar underneath.

Then there were the rolled up sleeves on most of the​ tailored pieces, surely signifying that women mean business and that there is still so much work to be done.

Heartfelt as is the commitment to​,​ and support of​,​ women, ‘Mrs Prada’ (as she is always known) has walked this path many times before. A decade ago when she was standing up as a designer for modern women in a consumer crazed world, her clothes seemed, as ever, revolutionary among flimsy sexed​-​up garments oozing vulgarity. Prada collections were greeted with excitement and joy, whether the clothes were ergonomic and practical, bourgeois with a twist​,​ or a jolting surprise.

But now, post the arrival of bold-shouldered, low-brow, high​-​price Vetements​,​ and the re​​discovery, via the Kardashians, of a fashionable backside, the Prada high-brow female aesthetic (at a price) might need to re-position itself.

Not that there weren’t clothes to make women feel cool and modern – like a tweedy coat with strips of a​ ​white base coming through the ​dark ​fabric​,​ or another with animal patterned lapels. Prada was strong on all its tailoring, with the leopard print giving​ an edge to the girly looks.

Yet there is something in the air today – and not just climate change – that makes it increasingly difficult to ​position luxury clothes with what is happening in the wider world.

Prada has so much to offer – not least the magnificent Fondazione Prada art space on the edge of Milan. Its modern and original artists on view include Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s ​”​​Carne y Arena (​​Virtually Present, Physically Invisible),” ​a​ virtual​ reality installation shown first ​at​ the Cannes festival.

Just the attention given to the current female cartoonists in the show could change their lives.

Let’s hope that the militant energy of Miuccia Prada can be a force for good in the fashion and wider world.