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Avant-garde approach

By Sonia Altshuler | China Daily Asia | Updated: 2018-06-14 02:42
Herzog & de Meuron's contributions to the project are called Language Restraint [Photo provided to China Daily]

The language we encounter here is like an archaeological find, as fascinating to us as ancient scrolls or coins, because we sense that its time is running out

—Jacques Herzog

Italian designer Miuccia Prada has always been at the cutting edge of fashion's drive. From countercultural fabric choices and subverting definitions of beauty to hiring architects to design her stores, as well as the brand's foundations in Milan and Venice that show constantly revolving art exhibitions, Prada's offerings have been ambitious and, in their finest manifestations, avant-garde.

Now, the woman with the "ugly beauty" mantra has surprised the market again by inviting four celebrated creative minds to work on a unique item for her autumn/winter 2018 menswear collection. True to form, on this occasion Mrs Prada (as she's called in-house) has switched the focus to the industrial side of the multifaceted Prada identity. Globally renowned architects Rem Koolhaas, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Herzog & de Meuron and Konstantin Grcic have been enlisted to work with a simple brief: to create an item using the black nylon fabric, considered a Prada icon.

In 1984, Mrs Prada first introduced black nylon with the brand's backpack. It served as the perfect representation of the designer's nomadic, exploratory sensibilities, but also of her understanding of the principle of utilitarianism. Totem of style and travel piece combined, the fashion-meets-function item became the It-bag overnight. It was minimal, too, emblazoned only with Prada's iconic triangular logo. The black nylon backpack was a high-low stunt of prescient proportions, a game-changer that is still coveted today.

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