WHERE Miuccia Prada goes, others follow.
The Italian designer is arguably the world's most influential in terms of kick-starting trends, with her sometimes kooky collections - think banana prints and hot rod heels - copied almost instantly by chain stores around the globe.
Next season, we will be wearing bold geometric prints, cropped bell-bottom trousers and bejewelled dresses, according to the gospel of Prada at the luxury brand's show yesterday during Milan Fashion Week.
Held within the cavernous and industrial Prada compound in Milan, the show marked a return to classic Prada attention to cuts and prints without the bells and whistles that have characterised recent collections.
Proceedings opened with a black swing coat worn over skinny pants with embellished cuffs and segued into a series of almost op-art print dresses and separates set with oversize jewels that literally popped from the fabric.
While the cut of some suits recalled 1960s Carnaby Street, the sari-like folds of skirts and dresses worn over trousers conjured India, the booming economy of which is a firm new focus for the fashion industry.
For evening, jackets with tails were spliced at the back and scattered with glossy carapaces and daywear showcased high waistlines and midi-length skirts that will move fashion forward from its current fixation with the 1920s and 1950s.
Trendsetting is paying off for Prada.
In November last year, the Prada Group reported a 75 per cent jump in net profits to €273.2 million ($340 million) for the first nine months of 2011, up from €156.5 million ($195 million) in 2010. Consolidated revenues of €1.7 billion were up 25 per cent from €1.4 billion for the group, which also includes Miu Miu, Church's and Car Shoe.
Prada will turn from commerce to culture when Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli are the subjects of a joint exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art opening on May 10. Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: On Fashion will include 80 designs from the Italian pair, with a healthy sense of fashion humour that will go on show at the museum's Costume Institute.
The Australian film director Baz Luhrmann is the exhibition's creative consultant.
Earlier yesterday, fellow Italian luxury label Fendi showed a highly architectural collection that played with line and form.
Fendi designer Karl Lagerfeld used pleating, peplums and spherical puffs of fabric to create sculptural shapes in a palette of jewel-toned greens, blues and burgundies in addition to basic black and grey.
Fendi's origins as a furrier and leather brand were given a futurist twist in the metallic burnished bronze finishes on some leather pieces, while a softer touch came in the form of textured knits with intricate mosaic patterns.
The collection was a textbook lesson in construction, yet its conceptual silhouettes may daunt more conservative customers who came to the brand via its more approachable and wildly successful Fendi Baguette bag that was carried by Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw character in Sex and the City.
The reporter travelled to Milan courtesy of Australian Wool Innovation.