epa02929807 A model presents a creation by Prada at the Milan Fashion Week Ready-to-wear Spring-Summer 2012, in Milan, Italy, 22 September 2011. The fashion week runs from 21 to 27 September.  EPA/GIULIO DI MAURO
epa02929807 A model presents a creation by Prada at the Milan Fashion Week Ready-to-wear Spring-Summer 2012, in Milan, Italy, 22 September 2011. The fashion week runs from 21 to 27 September. EPA/GIULIO DI MAURO ANSA

Driver wears Prada

WHAT do you get when you cross a 1950s American college girl with a boy racer? Something like the new spring-summer collection from iconic Italian label Prada shown off at Milan Fashion Week last Thursday.

Leather skirts and handbags with car themes alternated with exquisitely embroidered dresses and pastel-coloured pleated skirts in a range intended to replace the aggressive, go-getting woman with a softer but still modern image.

The show for the new 2012 designs by the Milanese company, which started out in 1913 as a luggage maker for Italy's kings in the famous Galleria Umberto, was held in a large former warehouse at Prada headquarters near the centre.

The space was decked out like a car racing track, with dirty grey walls, metallic mesh covering on the columns and even foam cars along the catwalk.

Some of the highlights of the collection were the figure-hugging polychromatic leather skirts, the bottle-green handbags and delicate pleated skirts emblazoned with the paintwork designs like on a souped-up Mustang.

Romantic ambient music filled the hall at the start of the show as the blonde models in light pink and cream coloured day wear streamed past.

The soundtrack changed to a rugged blues track and the evening wear brought out more of the racer motifs as well as embroidered retro bathing suits.

The show comes just days after Prada, which listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange in June, announced a 74.2 per cent rise in first-half net profits, thanks mainly to a 35.4 per cent boom in sales in Asia-Pacific this year.

The group opened 29 new boutiques in the first six months of the year and is planning to have 550 by the end of 2013, with around half of them in Asia.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in New York last month announced it will honour Miuccia Prada with an exhibition next year.



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