Prada brings exhibition to Hong Kong
After huge success in London, 'Pradasphere' arrives in Asia
Miuccia Prada is not one to seek the spotlight. The Prada boss rarely gives interviews and if you blink at the end of her runway shows you'll miss her bow – which is why Pradasphere, the exhibition that landed in Hong Kong last week after a hugely successful opening in London, feels like such a treat.
Never before has the Italian house allowed this kind of access to its archives, including the Prada family's own private collection. The result is a comprehensive exploration of the label, from its origins as a leathergoods maker, through the introduction of ready to wear, to today.
It is 'not a retrospective', as Mrs Prada and her husband and business partner Patrizio Bertelli point out in the enormous book that accompanies the exhibition. "When confronted with the opportunity to create an exhibition about Prada, we instinctively rejected both the retrospective and the forecast of what's next. Pradasphere is not about the past; it is a snapshot of a single moment: now. It demonstrates the way we think about our work, and all of the different forces that shape that thinking: our origins, the things we have made, the creative input of our collaborators, the insights drawn from parallel disciplines such as art, film and architecture, and the most fundamental influence of traditional craftsmanship and materials mixed with contemporary manufacturing and techhnology."
The exhibition inhabits a specially built, green velvet-lined box on top of Central Ferry Pier 4. In a small screening room at the back, the short films Prada has made with the likes of Wes Anderson and Roman Polanski play on a loop. In the main room, six cabinets modelled after those in the original Prada atelier display key ready-to-wear pieces from the archives in themed groups such as 'Femasculinity' and 'Exoticism'. Together they drum home the exhibition's key point: that Miuccia Prada is not one to seek endless new inspirations; instead she reinterprets the same themes in new ways. Which is infinitely more challenging.
At last week's launch party celebrities such as Gong Li, Michelle Reis and fashion blogger Tina Leung were just as enamoured by the exhibition as everyone else. Singer Lorde, who later performed at the party for invited guests, spent 20 minutes studying the exhibition and then from the stage told us all how 'beautiful' she thought it was.
She's right. Pradasphere is a must-see for any Prada fan, and for those who appreciate art of any kind, really. The good news is that it will move to two other as yet unannounced Asian cities after the Hong Kong run ends.
Pradasphere, Central Ferry Pier 4, Central Hong Kong, 19 November – December 5, Monday – Saturday, 12pm-7pm; Sunday, 12pm-6pm. Entry is free.