BRAND: Prada; CAMPAIGN: men’s fashion; ART DIRECTOR: David James
President Bush. Alan Greenspan, retiree. Day traders with reason to be really pissed off. Senator Giuliani. Blair Witch II. You’re going to need something other than an Old Navy tech vest to properly suit up for the assorted terrors of the millennium, which is why, in a new ad for its fall men’s line, Prada goes straight for the jugular. In something of a departure for the fashion house, its new insert in selected glossies dispenses altogether with Prada’s usual fixation on severely beautiful models. You can’t even see the dude in this ad – just his wary eyes, which seem to look both at and beyond you from his military-green hood/face mask. The posture is combative, the setting an eerie computer-generated interior, and even the paper the insert is printed on – a slippery, Tyvek-like synthetic – seems defensive (the surrounding articles may wash away in the acid rain, but the ad will survive). Prada could have left this paranoid-chic, pre-apocalyptic concept on the runway, but by bringing it front and center in mainstream magazines, it one-ups the cheery athleticism and studied casualness of the other fashion ads. In fact, they all look stunningly irrelevant. The late nineties have made the excesses of the eighties seem small-time, almost naïve. The party’s got to be almost over. Are you dressed for triage?