Prada is the most hotly anticipated show of the Milan season - if not the international collections as a whole. The excitement starts with the set and, for Spring Summer, the designer had invited muralists Miles 'El Mac' Gregor, Mesa, Gabriel Specter and Stinkfish and illustrators Jeanne Detallante and Pierre Mornet to create a backdrop around the subjects of 'femininity, representation, power and multiplicity' on the walls of the company's Via Fogazzaro showspace.
These ranged in spirit from the tender to the stern and from the naively cartoonish to the plain fierce. Or as the accompanying catalogue put it: 'Each painting depicts a different image of femininity. The women on the walls represent the multiplicity of guises that women assume in the course of a day, a lifetime.' As one of the world's most powerfully influential female creators, Miuccia Prada is more than a little interested in such themes.
So what did she herself make of them: the backdrop as ever was a brilliantly beautiful sign of things to come. For Spring Summer, then, the Prada woman will be wearing the sort of utilitarian uniform shapes and colours with which this designer made her name in the Nineties, fused with sportswear details in bright primaries and the organically placed ornamentation that has characterised her work more recently.
Here were knife-pleat school-girl skirts, shift dresses with oversized patch pockets and neat little coats with cute round buttons. They came in a signature Prada palette of navy and khaki or boasting the sort of bizarre colour juxtapositions the designer is known and loved for - mustard and lilac, turquoise and tangerine.
Sleeves and necklines were edged with striped rib-knit that matched the footless rugby socks each model wore, the better to show off the rubber, splayed heeled sandals or cutaway trainers that were as covetable as they were all new.
If the roots of all the above lie firmly in minimalism, the jewel-coloured paillettes and sequins that made their way across surfaces transformed the humble into the haute. The effect was dazzling.
Then came the art. The designer took details from the aforementioned murals and printed and embroidered them onto silks, furs and even bags. Only Yves Saint Laurent - famously a name that Miuccia Prada reveres - has ever merged these two worlds with such conviction, sensitivity and ease.
Finally, if ever there were any doubt that this was a heartfelt celebration of femininity in all its guises, it came in the form of bras - cut in contrasting colours into the bodices of dresses or heavily embellished and sparkling in the lights. These were worn throughout over and not under the clothes.
As the first lady of Italian fashion stepped out to take her bows the audience roared with excitement and approval. Nobody understands contemporary fashion and what intelligent women might like to wear quite like Miuccia Prada, after all, and her audience loves her for that.
Watch the full show below...