Milan, fleets of P.R. people. Both brands are also designed by women — Miuccia Prada and, at Gucci, Frida Giannini — but this scarcely accounts for their remarkable agreement this season at the men’s fall shows.What do Prada and Gucci have in common?
Both designers offered a scaled-down silhouette that emphasized realism, both used fresh colors like baby blue and plum and mixed them with fleshy beige and both used a minimum of brand identifiers, like prints. Even accessories were restrained. Ms. Giannini sent out thick-soled brogues, and limited Gucci flash to dark bamboo handles on bags squashed against the body.
On the whole, the shapes were boxy, both in jackets and outerwear, which consisted of Gucci classics like pea coats and unembellished motorcycle jackets.For Gucci, more than Prada, the change marked a new direction. Although Ms. Giannini’s clothing was precisely drawn, with high-quality materials like nappa leather and wool, the thrust was casual, with blazers shown with slim-fitting, 1960s-style pants. Alternatives were tailored leather shirts in dusty pastels or sage, often with a fine turtleneck underneath. Simple pullovers looked fresher than Ms. Giannini’s version of sweatshirts (essentially a knit stiffened with bonding). The collection certainly looked polished, but there was a move, perhaps, to address a casual lifestyle, as well as cuts that might entice young customers.
MILAN MEN’S FASHION
What sets Prada apart from every designer in Milan, and much of the fashion world, is that she is able to impart through her fashion, her choice of music (this time Kurt Weill) and her set (a platform covered with gray carpet padding, evoking Joseph Beuys) a sense of emotion.
Among obvious clues were the red scarves at the necks of the models and roomy fur coats.I’ll have more to say about her thoughtful — and relevant — show in my review of the Milan season, but it clearly unfolded around the lives of artists and dancers, circa the late ’70s. Ms. Prada said afterward that the German choreographer Pina Bausch was a reference. I thought of Rudolf Nureyev and other, more anonymous dancers in New York. But there was something else — an innocence, an uncomplicated sense of hope and certainly pleasure in being young.