Prada Schools the TikTok Crowd

Miuccia Prada, currently American Vogue’s pioneering septuagenarian cover girl, was standing backstage after the Prada show, bedecked in emeralds and jade and looking slightly terrified as Emma Watson and hordes of well-wishers and journalists swarmed around her like locusts. Such is life when you transcend the role of designer and become more like a divining rod that indicates which way the cultural water is flowing. And that is?

Toward “history,” she said as her co-creative director, Raf Simons, sipped Prosecco beside her. Or to be specific, toward the way history teaches us about where we are going. As Mr. Simons said in a news release later, “You can only realize your future if you know your past.”

It’s not a blinding insight — if we don’t learn from our actions, we are doomed to repeat them, and so on — but at this particular time, when it often feels like we actually are repeating them and memories are awfully short, it’s worth a reminder (as Mrs. Prada said backstage). Besides, fashion can bring the point to life as well as any lecture. Maybe better.

History has been much in the air in Milan. Maybe it’s because it was two years ago this week that Russia invaded Ukraine, or because the American presidential election feels like it’s dangerously on rewind. Maybe it’s because history-based films like “The Zone of Interest” and “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Oppenheimer” are sweeping the awards season, which parallels the ready-to-wear season. Or maybe it’s as simple as the fact that history is a living thing in fashion, given how many European houses are concerned with preserving their own heritages, constantly looking backward to define their identities. Probably all of the above.

Moschino, fall 2024.Credit…Clockwise from top left: Simbarashe Cha/The New York Times, Moschino, Simbarashe Cha/The New York Times

The issue was front and center at the Moschino show, where Adrian Appiolaza was making his debut as creative director of the brand that Franco Moschino built on a base of style and pointed cultural activism masquerading as a bit of fun. Jeremy Scott reinvented it as high camp, and Mr. Appiolaza is now charged with taking it forward.

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