Prada Fall Winter 2012 Menswear Ready-to-Wear Collection

Miuccia Prada held court and staged a coup in Milan with her latest for menswear. The former was signaled by the grandiose red, white and black carpet showpiece that dominated the space (Prada is as much an architect as she is a designer in how she juggles a bevy of themes and tropes in any given collection and the ingratiation of her very theatrical arenas). A coup because so early in the season it is hard to imagine this effort being topped – her troupe of Hollywood Indie darlings – Emile Hirsch, Garrett Hedlund, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Bell, Tim Roth and Gary Oldman – only helped to cement the ‘memorable’ factor.

Gone was the elevated kitsch of last season’s rhinestone cowboy golfers, but not its whimsy, necessarily. At first glance it appeared like a serious and sober line-up, dense in its English sensibility, body conscious to the point of austerity with the double-breasting of everything from suiting to outerwear, the piled on layers (minus any of the heft) – but with closer inspection a buttoned up and belted tobacco-brown top coat came filled top to bottom not in patterned arrays of little red circle embellishments or brocade, but actually came in a print. A novel idea for the modern man, wouldn’t you say? Look closer still, under all those layers that is, and you’d notice that the minuscule pattern on those dress shirts were actually printed rows of Indian headdresses and American football helmets. You can’t expect Prada, of all designers, to forsake all her subversion. Even when classic tailoring is the order of the day, she’ll sneak it in there one way or the other.

And for all the seeming propriety of this estate Prada has envisioned, with her masters of the house in double-breasted and pin-striped redingotes, dandies, arriving for tea perhaps, in astrakhan-collared Chesterfields with boutonnieres clipped to the breast pockets, and even the footmen, who must always look their best, in crisp white cashmere button-ups with mock turtleneck tees underneath – were all still aloud a helping of levity, or sartorial pep, by way of those two-toned oxfords. It wasn’t just blue-blooded elegance Prada was after – these men had panache.

Men, not boys to be sure. The casting, like the space, like the clothes, was integral for sending her message home. These were men in their early 20s, 30s and some well into their 50s. They all had their respective roles to play. Garrett Hedlund must’ve been the capricious playboy, who judging by that hilarious wave and grin, will more than likely die in some unprecedented war, while Jamie Bell was absolutely captivating as the dashing, loyal footman (I’m positive Miuccia Prada has been watching Downton Abbey just like the rest of us). But it was the Dafoe, Brody, Oldman triumvirate that really stole the show. While the Golden Globes played out in front of millions of viewers on a stage in Hollywood, California, these lauded actors took the day off to put on their snazzy red crystal Edwardian sunglasses and work the runway at the Prada menswear show. Not a bad way to kick off your week.