I hope not. The idea of Miuccia Prada producing a couture line seems almost antithetical to the brand’s image. She developed the anti-luxury nylon backpack in the late 1980s, stating that “no one wanted the backpack (at first) because it didn’t scream luxury.” Also, in May 2013, she told T Magazine that “to sell is to prove that what you are doing makes sense. I’m completely against the idea that we do fashion for an elite.” With its low profit margin and stuffy, elite clientele, it doesn’t seem that haute couture is high on Prada’s agenda.
To be honest, this past couture season bored the hell out of me and I’m just starting to realise why. You know how journalists keep gushing about Raf Simons bringing an “element of reality” to couture, and how Karl Lagerfeld’s Massaro-created sneakers were a refreshing and modern idea? It made me realise that couture could be transformed in the 21st century if we focused less on formal rules and empty titles and more on preserving technique. The best way to preserve technique is to test its application in the far more interesting, far more viable, ready-to-wear market. Mary Katrantzou already collaborates with Lesage, and Giambattista Valli already seems to sell his couture online. Why don’t more designers do this? A reactionary might argue that the prices would be too high, but I think it has real potential. These techniques can thrive outside Paris, given the right support.
This might sound blasphemous or whatever, but it seems like every season another obscure designer joins the couture club as a guest member. Who cares? The pond is already full of big fish—do you think people care about you when there are already Diors and Chanels in such a small, elite club? We don’t need a designer like Miuccia Prada doing couture; what we need is more designers taking a page—or a chapter—from Prada’s book of nervous, nerdy fashion ideas. Make great clothes, use incredible technique, and, for the love of God, do yourself a favour by making sure at least some of it sells. There’s nothing more depressing than seeing designers go broke making art (hey, Lacroix).