Prada sees virtues to preserve in digital runways

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A giant screen streams a Prada fashion live show during the women's Fall Winter 2021-22 collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

MILAN – Miuccia Prada has adapted to the digital runway and isn’t ready to give up its lessons when the pandemic is over.

Prada showed her first fall-winter collaboration with Raf Simons on Thursday, the camera following models as they traverse architectural spaces of marble floors and walls clad with faux fur. It was not the usual parade of looks seen from a fixed position, but the camera allowed an intimacy with the collection and a closer look at details, suggesting repetitions to consider and new angles that might have gone unnoticed in a packed show room.

While a runway show fades with the lights on the last look, the digital presentation requires another step: Picking the details that “create an atmosphere,” Prada said in a streamed conversation after the digital show.

“Of course, we can go back to reality,” she said, referring to the post-pandemic world. “But ... this shouldn’t be lost. It was much more effort but much more interesting. Probably we will have to do both.”

Digital shows have become hard to ignore even for media accustomed to the runway bustle. Collections coming out during this second pandemic year, projecting hopes of renewed normality into the next cold weather season, by and large are as ambitious as during the pre-pandemic era, demanding attention.

The Prada-Simons collection was a layered affair, with graphic prints on body-hugging separates, faux fur wraps, sequined dresses and naïve patterned knits as inserts on dresses and jackets. Beyond the obvious suit, the straightforward jacket, there was a surprise, a rich geometric pattern peeking out or warming, furry linings. The women’s collection continued the body-hugging comfort layer of long johns from menswear, as well as leather gloves fitted with zipped pouches.

Giorgio Armani has scaled back the number of offerings, a move he discussed last April in a letter to Women’s Wear Daily, where he outlined how he thought the industry needs to slow down and rescale so customers “perceive its true importance and value.”

Armani staged a combined men’s and women’s show for Emporio Armani, which was filmed in his show room with models traversing a curved runway of upbeat colors that were splashed in the collection as accents of optimism against neutrals.

The Emporio collection projects beyond the current regime of virus restrictions to a time when one can hope to be more regularly out and about, but with softness. To ease men back in, Emporio’s wool suits mimicked knitwear but never gave in to full leisure wear. Women will have cozy knitwear tucked into trousers or with shorts for day, and satiny dresses with ribboning detail for a return to evenings out. Evening wear was full-on sparkle, both for him and for her.

Armani insisted on real shoes -- no more sneakers -- with boots for men and low-heeled shoes or stocking boots for women.

Moschino’s Jeremy Scott maintained his usual playfulness, casting top models, actresses and a burlesque star that might have been front-row guests in another period to populate his Moschino digital show.

Scott directed the Moschino society woman on a mashup tour from the countryside to a 5th Avenue shopping spree and a night out at the opera.

Hailey Bieber appeared in a double-breasted pinstripe suit with shorts and a tiny hat, carrying a Moschino Market newspaper. Amber Valletta was caught on a shopping safari in a faux golden crocodile suit, replete with lizard tail. Miranda Kerr frolicked in a bucolic cinched-waist dress with a blue sky print over a full skirt featuring cows at pasture.

Dita Von Teese finished as the queen of hearts, a heart cutout on the back of the dress baring her behind, beneath an old movie-style title: The End.