Milan Fashion Week: Prada Projects Youthful Optimism, Not Escapism, in a Turbulent World

Models present creations by Prada during the Milan Fashion Week Men's Spring Summer 2025, in Milan, Italy, 16 June 2024. (EPA)
Models present creations by Prada during the Milan Fashion Week Men's Spring Summer 2025, in Milan, Italy, 16 June 2024. (EPA)
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Milan Fashion Week: Prada Projects Youthful Optimism, Not Escapism, in a Turbulent World

Models present creations by Prada during the Milan Fashion Week Men's Spring Summer 2025, in Milan, Italy, 16 June 2024. (EPA)
Models present creations by Prada during the Milan Fashion Week Men's Spring Summer 2025, in Milan, Italy, 16 June 2024. (EPA)

Without making overt statements, Milan designers expressed their concern over the global turbulence through their collections.

Miuccia Prada said she wanted to project optimism. “Because even if the times are bad, I feel that it was the right thing to do,’’ she said backstage at the Prada show. She is not promoting escapism. “Eventually, I propose something positive, but escapism, I don’t like.”

Not using the platform to comment would be “irresponsible,’’ said the designers behind the Simon Cracker brand, born 14 years ago to contrast the prevailing fashion system with upcycled collections.

They dedicated their collection, titled “A Matter of Principle,” to “the children victims of matters of principle.”

Some highlights from the third day Sunday of mostly menswear previews for Spring-Summer 2025:

Prada projects optimism The Prada menswear collection plays with the idea of imperfection. But nothing is as it seems.

Tops, jackets and hoodies seem shrunken, more than cropped. Overcoats have three-quarter sleeves. It’s a wardrobe somehow inherited, already lived-in. Creases are part of the construction, as technical as a pleat. Pointed shirt collars are held aloft by wires. Trousers feature faux belts, low and below the waistline. Belts also are featured as decoration on bags, as if to close them.

Miuccia Prada, co-creative director of the brand along with Raf Simons, said playing with the idea of the real vs. the fake “is very contemporary,” calling such details “an invitation to take a closer look at the clothes, up close.”

The neutral color palette is punctuated by warm feminine shades: a bright green cardigan, a floral blouse, a turquoise coat, which the designers said suggest a mother’s or grandmother’s wardrobe.

“We wanted (the collection) to be already alive, as if clothes you already lived with,” Simons said backstage.

Prada models emerged from a simple white hut, descending into the showroom down a runway flanked by a white picket fence. The designers describe the setting both as essential and utopian — and youthful.

“Here youth is the hope, it’s the future,” Prada said. “In this moment, we thought it was relevant also to encourage youth to think about our world.”

A world in knots at Simon Cracker So many knots to undo in the world, so many knots holding together the latest Simon Cracker collection of mostly upcycled apparel.

For Spring-Summer 2025, designers Filippo Biraghi and Simone Botte assembled their collection of repurposed apparel castoffs using laces and drawstrings to create skirts from tennis shirt panels, dresses from knitwear and restructure jackets. Each piece is unique.

The “nervous” color palette of black, violet, sea blue and acid green was achieved through dying, each material reacting differently to the process.

“It is a way of recounting what is happening in the world, without being too explicit,” Biraghi said backstage. “It would be irresponsible to not be political in this moment.”

The 14-year-brand’s name is meant to denote that something is broken — cracked — in the fashion system. They embrace imperfection as part of the beauty of their creations, made from forgotten or discarded garments and deadstock fabrics, this time including textiles from Italian sportswear brand Australian.

Australian, which is gaining traction with the club crowd, also created a capsule collection of black neon and technical garments for Simon Cracker, its first production line. Doc Martens provided the footwear, which the designers personalized with pins, badges and costume jewelry.



Kering Posts 11% Drop in Q2 Sales, Sees Weak Second Half

The logo of luxury brand Gucci is seen in Tokyo on June 22, 2021. (AFP)
The logo of luxury brand Gucci is seen in Tokyo on June 22, 2021. (AFP)
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Kering Posts 11% Drop in Q2 Sales, Sees Weak Second Half

The logo of luxury brand Gucci is seen in Tokyo on June 22, 2021. (AFP)
The logo of luxury brand Gucci is seen in Tokyo on June 22, 2021. (AFP)

Kering reported a bigger-than-expected drop in second-quarter sales and forecast a weak second half, as the French luxury group struggles to revive its key label Gucci and worries grow about a prolonged downturn in high-end spending.

Sales at the French luxury group which owns labels Gucci, Boucheron and Balenciaga, fell to 4.5 billion euros ($4.9 billion), an 11% drop on an organic basis, which strips out currency effects and acquisitions.

The figure was below analyst expectations for a 9% drop, according to a Visible Alpha consensus.

It also said second-half operating income could fall by around 30%, following a 42% drop in the first half.

Sales at Gucci fell 19%, showing no improvement from the first quarter, and below analyst expectations for a 16% decline, according to a Visible Alpha consensus.

Kering has been revamping Gucci, the century-old Italian fashion house which accounts for half of group sales and two-thirds of profit.

Minimalist designs from new creative director Sabato de Sarno, which began trickling into stores earlier this year, are key to the design reset and push upmarket, in a bid to cater to wealthier clients who are more immune to economic headwinds.

Kering chief financial officer Armelle Poulou told reporters that the designs had been well received and the rollout was on track.

But the efforts have been complicated by a downturn in the global luxury market, while China's rebound - traditionally Gucci's most coveted market - was clouded by a property crisis and high youth unemployment as Western markets came down from a post-pandemic splurge.

Earnings from sector bellwether LVMH on Tuesday missed expectations as sales rose 1%, offering few signs that a pickup is around the corner, sending shares in luxury goods companies down on Wednesday. Kering traded at its lowest level since 2017.