Forty years ago, Milan was named sister city to the towering Shanghai, China’s economic hub. To celebrate the intricate bond between the two metropolis, Mrs P. took her Prada menswear SS20 show and a part of the fashion contingent to a one-night only takeover of the Asian city. Here’s what went down.  


A blue-lit catwalk spanning long and linear across the unvarnished surroundings of Shanghai’s Minsheng Art Wharf, a path of theatrical lights created for one night only by AMO, the Dutch company OMA’s research and design studios, setting the tone for the Prada evening’s unfolding events. Massive, raw and defiant, the transformed Silo Hall’s colossal presence dressed up for the Italian label and its international friends offering a stark contrast to the House’s former show hosts, the Milan-based Fondazione Prada and the brand’s NYC office. Transforming the industrial heritage of Asia’s largest grain factory in a “power of energy, provocation and freedom”, Mrs P. took over the design language of her collection and invited her guest to attune to the space, placing them in the very center of the edifice mirroring the labyrinthine location’s sinuous lines.


Master of the modern, Miuccia Prada turned to the future and sci-fi ‘s codes for inspiration, highlighting technology’s past and new symbols, exploring the city host’s history and applying those vintage undercurrents along with our never-ending hunger for exclusivity and new to her Summer 2020 collection. Once again, Mrs P. managed to shift the focus from our reality, to her rebelliously tailored one.


Flying the fashion contingent to Shanghai’s buzzy, busy streets is no easy task and the fashion show carefully-curated guestlists included a slew of Chinese celebrities along with the Prada-stamped international ambassadors, singer Frank Ocean and True Blood actor Dane DeHaan.


How does one translate the strength and energy of an “Optimist Rhythm” to a summery menswear collection? In stark contrast with the showspace austere walls, the collection came as an ode to lightness and youth. Classic menswear silhouettes deconstructed and adjusted, mixed with utilitarian clothing and sportswear: shorts, layered shirts or croppy box jackets in oversized or misplaced proportions, disrupting the classics codes of menswear tailoring but ever maintaining the crisp, sleek and elegant allure, signature of the Italian House. Colorama: think fresh sorbet hues of pink, blue and green paired playfully with soothing neutrals and adorned with wild sci-fi prints and badges, cassettes tapes, video cameras, and a customed Prada logo, emerging like fragments from a futuristic past.

Photos by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images.

Mrs P.’s version of a boy scout uniform: A beret, the signature neckerchief rolled around the neck and fastened by a triangular woggle sporting the futuristic Prada logo, the trophies badges and patches, borne proudly across the chest on shirts and t-shirts, and the choice of utilitarian’s backpacks and bumbags for expeditions or bowling bags to carry around on city errands. A compellingly wearable and utterly complete inventory to set up the Prada male on a mission in the concrete jungle.


At first, the models walked over voiceovers statements sprawling out from heavy headphones: “I am no longer an artist; I have become a work of art,” or “I feel myself a god”, both giving heart and life to Prada’s army of boys stomping down the runway. During the second act of the evening, bringing the show to its climax, Prada’s collaboration with British DJ, producer and festival organizer Craig Richards and NY-based production company Variety Entertainments kept the guests entertained all through the night with bespoke performance episodes and vignettes.


For starters, there wasn’t a solo performance with one single iconic artist. It wouldn’t be Prada. Soon after the show’s finale, the designer invited her guests to the 7th floor of the Silo where the event ballooned into a multi-performers evening with dance, music, lights and sound installations arranged through seven different atmospheres. Offering a vibrant digital feast, the attendees were taken through the spaces at the pace of each act, rooming around the immersive spaces where composer and electric cellist Dana Leong presented a duo performance with contemporary ballet dancer Katherine Crockett and piano virtuoso Francesco Tristano delighted the audience with a short solo live recital. The evening concluded in music with a duo DJ set by Craig Richards and Ben UFO.