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Prada gives new meaning to bows and aprons, historic elements of women’s wardrobe, for next season

MILAN — Don’t call them nostalgic, the bows and aprons, silken slips and hats that filled the Prada runway. Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons recovered elements of a women’s wardrobe history and reconstituted them into something “modern.”

“It’s a history of women,” Prada told reporters backstage at the fall-winter 2024-25 preview show on Thursday. This act of reinventing items fished from deep inside the closet “frees them from their cage,” Prada said, giving them new meaning.

The looks are modular. Woolen aprons, facing front or back, partially obscure slip skirts, closing with bows or floral appliques — the silken touches defy the male silhouette. The skirt combos are paired with an accompanying jacket with a silken back panel, or twinsets in bold color combinations, royal red and purple, yesteryear olive and pink.

Shift dress are covered in the front with wispy, monochrome tabs that flutter with each step. Masculine elements include skirts cuffed at the hem and Varsity letter jacket emblazoned with a “P” for wannabe athletes that never made the cut. Cocktail dresses feature big bows and a fur collar.

The color palette is mostly dark neutral, punctuated by colorful hats in aubergine or turquoise that elongate the form. In velvet they have the feeling of a Beehive, covered with feathers of a mod 1960s brushed do. The Prada Cleo bag has an oversized shoulder strap. Bags also fasten to the wrist with a leather strap.

“I always choose to work with pieces from history because for me history teaches us everything, in every field from politics to fashion to art. Anything we are comes from our past,” Prada said.

The show, she said, was meant as a gesture of “goodness,” something needed as an antidote to aggression, “especially in these times.” In that vein, models walked with their hands clutching their breasts, in a protective gesture.

“Fashion is also about love,” Simons added. “The love of beauty, the love of history.”

Emma Watson, Tracy Ellis Ross and Gwendoline Christie took front-row seats in the Prada showroom, perched above a plexiglass runway covering scattered fall leaves.

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