Brand Stan: Emma Hope Allwood On Prada
Emma Hope Allwood is an editor whose razor-sharp, emo-influenced aesthetic is instantly recognizable. As the former head of fashion at Dazed Digital, Emma’s eye is both highly knowledgeable and highly discerning. So what does it take to command the devotion of one of fashion’s key tastemakers? For Emma, the answer lies in the classics, more specifically: the Prada classics. We asked her to wax lyrical about her love of the iconic Italian powerhouse.
Which fashion designer has a Carsten Höller slide leading from inside their office to the ground below? Used to be a member of the communist party? Declared ugliness to be both attractive and exciting? The one and only Miuccia Prada, of course. Queen of ugly chic, skirts (a Prada fixation), twisted takes on schoolgirl staples, and an enviable collection of vintage earrings, Mrs Prada – as she’s affectionately known – is one of fashion’s most beloved luminaries.
After years of admiring the brand’s campaigns (the pop flower prints and silver socks of SS13 remain a particular favourite) my first Prada purchase – wide eyed and new to the fashion industry – was on eBay. A pair of slip-on kitten heels from the SS00 collection, made famous by its Dali-esque lip prints and a lipstick skirt once worn by Charlotte on Sex and the City. The shoes were half a size too small, but I wore them anyway.
In the seasons that have since passed, I’ve been lucky enough to attend many a Prada show and established a regular rotation of favourite Prada pieces. There’s the bias-cut silk skirt that survived being mauled by my hairbrush (never carry one in a canvas tote bag), the studded strap cross-body bag that perfectly unites my teenage emo-stylings and high fashion aspirations, and of course, the holy grail: my nylon Prada backpack.
The brand’s first it-item, a minimalist, almost anonymous bag, the Prada backpack is iconic. But beyond its never-out-of-style status, what I love most is the practicality of it. My first Prada bag – a now-sold Grown-Up-Lady-style leather tote – was too fancy: I need a bag I can throw around. I can attest to the fact that Prada’s easy-clean nylon is infamously tough, not to mention water-resistant. Also, with the launch of the Re-Nylon project, it’s becoming a lot better for the planet. If you can’t stretch to the backpack, take my word for it: a nylon pouch with a saffiano wrist strap is one of the most useful things you can own. I mean, how many clutch bags can you fit an entire book inside?!
But it’s not just the accessories: I love the functionality of Prada clothes, too. A satin top – part of the opening look of the SS19 show, bought on this very website – fastens at the back, but has a line of poppers rather than buttons, so I don’t need to knock on the neighbour’s door and ask for help getting into it. A nylon dress I own has a concealed chest pocket that fits an entire XL iPhone, debit cards, and even a set of keys. And a skirt contains yet more hidden pockets, upgrading any outfit to hands-free.
Prada’s motto is “Thinking Fashion”, one which epitomizes Miuccia’s unique mix of philosophy and practicality. Instead of screaming over you, Prada lets you do the talking. What’s more, from its glittering gold Fondazione Prada art museum in Milan, to its Rem Koolhaas-designed stores, Prada is a brand with vision and the integrity to back it up. And though the singularity of Miuccia’s vision will now be shared with Raf Simons, it’s safe to say that the brand’s stylish, practical intellectualism will endure – whatever the future of fashion may look like.
Emma Hope Allwood is a writer and creative consultant, formerly Fashion Editor at Dazed Digital.
Design By Axel Swan