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Prada, Max Mara back to pre-pandemic splendor in Milan

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MILAN (AP) — Pre-pandemic fashion delirium is back.

After several calm COVID-induced seasons, Milan Fashion Week is back to its pre-pandemic splendor: with crowded seating, gridlocked streets and sidewalks packed with fashion fans wanting a glimpse of stars and influencers.

After a lot of pandemic talk of how the fashion system needed to change -- that is, slow down -- few have been able to resist returning to the world as they knew it. This week’s runway shows will close with the return of another Milan tradition: the Green Carpet Awards to recognize advances in sustainability.

Here are some highlights from Thursday's shows on the second day of Milan Fashion Week, which is mostly womenswear previews for next spring and summer.


The latest collection by Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons explores the space between minimalism and decorations, with clean silhouettes and transparent materials.

The collection starts with form-fitting, slightly cropped bodysuits crafted from poplin shirting, in industrial colors like gray and ivory. They are worn under boxy jackets and longer opera coats, then finally, a loose-fitting dress in crude silk and pretty lace detailing, suggestive of a night dress.

‘The clothes are about simplicity, with no unnecessary complication,’’ Prada said in show notes. ‘’ Politically, theoretically, aesthetically, we are drawn to these notions again and again. The idea of directness.’’

The silhouette was simple. Dresses wrap around the body, as casually as a towel after a shower. Transparent, tissue-y overcoats gave a sense of lightness. Naive applique flowers decorate handbags and jackets, at times holding in place a trailing tail of fabric.

Even with the feminine touches, androgyny underlined the collection, in particularly in the Prada uniform looks: jumpsuits, slim trousers and jackets. Shoes were snub-toed Mary Janes or loafers. Bags of the season included the Prada inverted triangle handbag and large shoppers in contrasting pink or lime.

‘’More than any other collection, this one is filled with different views. There’s a mirror of cinema in the collection, of witnessing fragments of a larger whole,’’ Simons said.


The Max Mara silhouette for next season evokes feminine modernity, with voluminous mariner trousers and skirts that flair from snug at the hip into a cascading torrent of swishing movement. The volumes -- evident also in boxy jackets and oversized coats -- are balanced by shoulder-baring halters and crop tops.

Creative director Ian Griffiths said he took cues from 1930s female intellectuals on the French Riviera, citing Renee Perle, the muse and lover of photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue, and architect Eileen Gray. There is a purposeful androgyny in the collection, with David Bowie in loose 1980s trousers appearing on Griffith’s mood board.

They are looks that invite contemplation, while offering unrestrained movement for a woman intent on intellectual pursuits.

Max Mara presented a neutral color for next season, in raw linen that can range from gray to khaki, which was set off by soothing, sun-faded shades of yellow, green and blue, creating a harmonious trio in a baggy overcoat over swimsuit combo, finished with a knit bathing cap.

Bags are large enough for a weekend getaway. Shoes are platform sandals. And hats feature oversized brims.

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