"Raw elegance" said Miuccia Prada following her wonderfully tender Autumn Winter 2013 show. "There are so many restrictions today. It's outmoded to be romantic - not for me personally but in the world. So you have to have something nasty too." By nasty the first lady of Italian fashion - or just fashion, actually - presumably meant the vaguely industrial nature of the cinematic backdrop with its fire escapes and metal screens. It was populated, though, with wistful projections of black cats, birds in flight and the silhouette of a loan female. She was also talking about the flat tractor-soled shoes which, she explained, "I had to really fight with my assistant to get in."
In fact, this was probably the most personal collection the designer has sent out for years, featuring many of her favourite things, most of which her audience struggled for some time to understand but which she has stood by ensuring the world is a more interesting place to be. Among them are the colour brown: sequinned and embroidered pieces came in that hue which is far from the most predictable or obviously commercial shade. Then there were heavy tweeds in a signature sludgy and gently jarring palette of mustard and burnt orange, turquoise and green.
"We wanted to elevate the humble and camouflage the rich" Prada said and, again, this is something she understands well and realises with unparalleled sensitivity. A fabric as basic as gingham was trimmed with an oversized gauntlet sleeve whispering of the drama of Hollywood's Golden Age, the most delicate beaded cocktail dress was worn over nothing more haute than a chunky grey rib knit.
"We felt it was important to be very human," the designer concluded and with its mix of high and low, toughness and whimsy, pragmatism and escapism this was just that - and more.