Prada is so creatively fertile as a brand that its original successes could have become overshadowed with the passage of time. However, Miuccia Prada has recently turned the spotlight back onto the sturdy, plain black nylon that was the foundation of her career to emphasise her links with the arts world, as part of the Prada Invites series. Last year, the label asked well-known and emerging artists to rethink and reinvent the black nylon bag for limited edition items. Following autumn’s menswear show, which featured black nylon accessories and garments by four celebrated male industrial designers and architects, this spring brings a new range of pieces (£990-£1,950; released Wednesday April 24) in the material, designed by celebrated female architects.
Each of the globally renowned names has approached the bag and its function in an unconventional way, designing for like-minded women. The thought-provoking designs will be available from nine of Prada’s flagships globally, including London, where they’ll be presented in a dedicated area with displays explaining the thought and development behind each style.
Italian architect and product designer Cini Boeri, who set up her studio in the 1960s and has created furniture for brands such as Knoll, designed a bag that appears conventional on the surface (£1,440) but can be expanded or reduced according to need. The playful styles by Pritzker-winning Kazuyo Sejima – the first woman to be director of architecture at the Venice Biennale, in 2010 – are longer (£1,630) and shorter (£1,260) zip-off bags, with detachable pouches and handles in bright padded nylon (the shorter style can also be worn around the shoulders). American architect Elizabeth Diller, whose studio is currently designing the London Symphony Orchestra’s new home and the V&A’s new east London hub, loves to “cross-pollinate” boundaries: her Envelope (£1,950) is literally a garment bag – a shapely, zipped protective layer – and her Yoke (£990) can be folded up as a clutch or worn around the shoulders. All are distinctively fresh approaches to an old favourite, and they make a true collector’s collection.