Milan Fashion Week 2024: Prada Spring Summer Men’s Collection

An examination of fluid architecture, around the human body.

Courtesy of Prada.

Prada’s Spring/Summer 2024 menswear show, a collaboration between Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, redefined fluid architecture around the human body. “This collection is about questioning convention, structure and masculinity.” On a technical front, Prada and Simons focused on movement and fabric, the way a traditional heavy-looking suit can be worn lightly on the body. “We explored the idea of how tailoring can feel completely different from how we know it.” The pair went on to describe the assignment in their program notes as “an examination of fluid architecture around the human body.”

AMO used aluminium to give the runway an industrial feel.

A roar went up among the fashion show audience when the pyrotechnics of the space kicked in from a metal grid hanging over the Fondazione Prada warehouse, large drops of slime began to ooze, forming organic veils of transparency that partially concealed the models from the audience.

In a futuristic and metallic environment with abstract walls, the line began to unveil in which the T-shirt and its structure, along with the details was the starting point. The rock music based on Nine Inch Nails with the song “Closer” referred to wanting to get close to the body that moves freely, seeming like a sensible alliteration. The “slime” dripping from the ceiling echoed this fluctuation and tightened in the centre, just as jackets are bolted to the body.

Courtesy of Prada SS’24 menswear collection.

Once the work began, this start was followed by a process of transformation in which suits, trench coats, sportswear and reporter jackets were reinvented and elevated to a new level in which minimalism predominated. From this moment on everything began to expand and consequently amplify the idea of the paradox between silhouette and materiality.

Then came the concept translated into clothing, starting with a series of tailored silhouettes. What looked sharp, even heavy, was as Simons revealed, an illusion. Jacket-style shirts, tucked into high-waisted shorts and 1940s-style tapered pants, were made not from wool but from featherweight cotton poplin and were the starting point for the collection: the “simplest” silhouette. “From that base, from a foundation of the most basic and normal, you can do whatever you want,” Prada said. “It allows for transformation and individuality.”

Courtesy of Prada SS’24 menswear collection. Details.

Prada’s Spring Summer 2024 collection was inspired by renowned artists. The influence of HR Giger, the creator of Alien, and Joseph Beuys, famous for displaying his own thick felt rabbit suit, could be seen in the designs. Beuys’ iconic 1970 Beuys felt suit made from pressed rabbit fur, shone through in Prada’s silhouette and Simons’ two-piece suits. More explicit were nods to Beuys’ uniform, elements of which were peppered throughout the presentation: a white shirt, a vest, pants, and a fur-lined coat.

A distinctive highlight of the collection was the reinvention of the Hawaiian shirt. Long stereotyped as the lamest piece of men’s fashion, Prada and Simons transformed it, turning it into softer sculptural shapes with echoes of Beuys’ artistic influence. They effectively deconstructed and reimagined the infamous shirt, adding avant-garde embellishments that blurred its garish floral embellishments.

Courtesy of Prada SS’24 menswear collection.

Miuccia Prada also said: “Life and the understanding of life are so complex that simplicity can be too simple. We were rather interested in this elaboration, this expansion. The sophistication of thoughts allows a reconsideration of simple things. We started with the white shirt, the simplest. And from that base, from a base of the most basic and normal, you can do whatever you want. It allows for transformation and individuality. Talking about bodies, you talk about individuals, about the individuality of people and, therefore, an individuality of thought.”

Courtesy of Prada SS’24 menswear collection.

Jackets featured removable pads, cinched waists and elongated skirts and sleeves, while high-waisted pants accentuated the groin area with generous side pleats before tapering to the ankle. Simons aimed to strike a balance between architectural construction and freedom of movement, reinventing clothing as open as the lightest poplin shirt. The qualities of lightness and softness were transmitted to the garments, creating a fluctuating relationship between body and clothing. These ideas infiltrated all aspects of clothing: headbands and eyeglasses, molded from singular pieces, appeared as captured fragments of movement.

“If you look at the tailoring in the runway show … it allows the body, which is always moving and always transforming, to feel free,” Simons said. “To feel comfort and ease.”

Courtesy of Prada SS’24 menswear collection. Details.

In addition, the collection also featured more accessible elements, such as five-pocket jeans, denim shirts with detachable shoulder pads and men’s shorts with a partially elasticized waistband. These pieces served to ground the collection, providing balance and introducing a youthful touch.

The colour palette throughout the collection is consistent soft tones paired with more saturated hues. For example, where the outfit is black, the sunglasses are brown.

Courtesy of Prada SS’24 menswear collection.

As we well know, the brand has always been a pioneer in the art of curating front rows filled with the power of A-listers. Prada, I tapped the names of Asian stars, friends and ambassadors of the house. On this occasion, stars like Troye Sivan, Louis Partridge and Li Xian watched the show from the front row. The spotlight, however, was on Prada’s ambassadors: Japanese actor Kentaro Sakaguchi and South Korean stars Kim Taeri and Jeong Jaehyun. The Asian icons graced the Fondazione Prada warehouse, where the event was held, with their presence, wearing their best Prada looks and attracting the attention of the media and other attendees.

Celebrities at the Prada SS’24 menswear collection front row.