Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons have their collaboration down to a science, pushing the boundaries of their respective signatures

Three years ago—when news broke that Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons would be combining forces at Prada—it felt as though the fashion world suddenly became scientific, considering how the two designers’ seemingly mismatched aesthetics might fit together. For example: Prada’s walkable satin pumps, and Simons’s deconstructed knits; her office-chic skirt suits, and his cape-like hoodies emblazoned with text art and Robert Mapplethorpe prints. The research question: What would it look like to have these two fashion giants put their heads together? Hypothesis: Prada and Simons focusing on pushing boundaries, rather than the mechanics of making clothing. The Italian house’s Spring/Summer 2024 show presents irrefutable evidence in support of this conjecture.

The duo’s collection deftly located the point where silliness meets high fashion, showcasing a menagerie of looks practical enough for daily wear, with a distinctly freaky edge. Crystal swirls appended sheer black silk-chiffon blouses and pashminas draped over tweed blazers; shiny, organza-layered shift dresses were tinted with the faintest of pastels. Remarkably high-waisted shorts looked like front-pleated trousers with the legs lopped off, sometimes paired with leather-lapeled workman jackets or shrunken, studded cardigans.

The accessories only amplified the collection’s eccentric overtone. The majority of the 47 looks involved an extra-long black leather belt with silver hardware—sometimes folded under itself, other times affixed with dangling fringe. These buckles were seen on handbags, as well, from crystalline re-issues of the house’s signature nylon tote, to fine leather pocketbooks.

This runway show reminds us that, inside the sensible archetype of the Prada girl, lies an elegant imp who sometimes wears two shirts and three belts at the same time. Thus far, Prada and Simons’s work together has proved that design excellence contains layers—both on the catwalk, and in practice.