I don't know where I heard or read it (Twitter? from a blog?), but it has been said that menswear follows just two cycles: shifting between a return to tradition and a push towards new technological frontiers. Looking through GQ's photo archives, I think the last time Prada (since 1993 for menswear) turned to tradition and presented sturdy and reliable fare (though of course no one can second guess Prada just by looking at the clothes, and without actually touching or wearing them, or even looking at the tag information!) was in the back-to-back collections of Fall 2005 and Spring 2006.
I think Spring 2010, which for me was the perfect mix of wearability and innovation, heralded the turning of the tide.
First thing of course to catch one's attention in Prada's Fall 2010 collection cropped ribbed sweaters with high hems, as if to purposely show the crumpling of shirts underneath. But what must also be sensually pleasing is the fabric of the jackets, coats, and trousers. They look like cream!
Camel gives way to shades of tan for Prada in Spring 2011. This time the sweaters and jackets look like paper bags, and rightly so: they are sharp, well-fitted, and retro. (Notice a running color theme cross from last season?)
Sure it's shearling, but only when necessary and not as over-the-top as Gianfranco Ferré's. I wonder what material the sweaters are made of. At closer inspection, the white "tee" on the right is also a sweater, but at normal length.
And here comes Spring's scrubs team, in denim shirts (first two) that appear like a cross between medical uniforms and straitjackets. Are they aprons? I particularly like the playfulness of the denim shirt- on-denim shirt combo on the right. With short sleeves!
The shorts, ah the shorts! Almost like barrels or skirts. I think what's crucial is the softness or rawness of the denim. Do they billow with the wind? Are the as lounge-able as they look?
Still the material, the buttons, and the color of the season.
Scrubs meets Ivy League.
As if to presage the next season's denim on denim: two collars, one on top of the other. The sweater looks so small on the left that won't you feel naked? Maybe wear something with a hood underneath?
All the wonderful elements of retro: baggy pants and jackets fit and lengthened.
I change my mind. The mini-sweater in black looks rad. Also in brown.
Here are Wednesday's other siblings.
Ninja robes and pea coats.
Instead of the jackets just touching a little beyond the waist, they reach as far as trouser pockets. Makes you look taller — well if you happen to be tall in the first place. Who could not love sky blue sweaters?
As I first mentioned, Prada exists in its own world, down to its own take on the trench.
Denim blazers! Why not with denim trousers? I'd wear them with the drawstring pair.
Well…I guess in this combination of fabric, color, and texture, these mini-sweaters are good to go. I'd love to see detail shots. Notice the three-buttoned item: is it semi-sheer or meshy? If so, then all the more…
From complexity to simple Crayola colors. The v-necks would be great worn alone for summer.
The bold-colored jackets are also right not just for the season, but also for the yearning of the moment.
Not a fan of modified fatigue. I want the other pattern on (cropped) jackets.
Even the sweaters for Spring are lengthened. No better way to draw attention to the face than using yellow, and concentric stripes. Birds of paradise.
Finally we see the color-placketed shirts without jackets. Not a fan. But nothing ever looks as clean as a white v-neck inspired by scrub outfits.