BEIJING – All the stars have lined up for Prada.
Echoing the original Milan shows featuring the likes of Hunter Schafer and Kyle MacLachlan, the Beijing iteration of Prada’s men’s and women’s fall 2022 collections surprised some of the highest-profile Chinese movie stars in the industry.
A total of nine well-known Chinese actors and actresses participated in the performance. Liao Fan, winner of the Silver Bear Award for Best Actor at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival; Kara Wai Ying Hong, three-time Hong Kong Film Award winner for Best Actress; Bai Yufan and Rayzha Alimcan, stars of the famous “Mining Town” series; Guo Keyu, actress-reality-show star; Huang Jue, an art house favorite; and actress Huang Miyi of the popular “Bad Children” TV drama; and Prada ambassadors Chun Xia and Li Yifeng added star power to the runway.
Supermodels Du Juan, Ju Xiaowen and Cici Xiang, top male models Jin Dachuan and Zhao Lei also participated in the show.
More than 400 guests attended the event, including Prada ambassador Cai Xukun, filmmaker Jia Zhangke, artist Cao Fei and architect Yung Ho Chang. The show took place at Prince Ju’s Mansion, a royal complex that was formerly the residence of Prince Ju during the Qing Dynasty.
A re-enactment of the play featured 51 looks with slightly altered styling and a few extra pieces. The event was streamed live on social media platforms Weibo, Douyin and Tencent Video, garnering over 92.7 million views.
Prada worked with AMO to transform the space. Geometric lighting systems and industrial non-slip metal floors add a modern touch to the ancient red brick palace and its back garden.
In the eyes of Yihan “Chace” Zhu, frontman and DJ of the popular alternative rock band Mandarin, the overlapping elements of Depeche Mode’s soundtrack further transformed the venue. “The electronic elements go with the angular edges that are on the dress,” she told WWD after the show.
“The music and a lot of the designs remind me of Robert Longo’s work and Pictures Generation as a whole, the atmosphere is pure New York City in the 80s,” said Philip Tinari, director of the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art.
Made a casting day for Shanghai influencer and stylist Mia Kong. She was able to let out her inner fangirl when she saw Liao Fan walking down the runway. “The casting showed the intellectual side of China’s popular scene,” Kong said.
“The casting is unexpected but makes perfect sense, adding a renewed sense of fantasy to the clothes,” added Chinese designer Xander Zhou.
After the show, guests were taken to the back garden, a Chinese-style villa full of pavilions and corridors built above tranquil fish ponds. Bathed in Prada’s pink fluorescent light, they nibbled on Prada embossed ice creams and Peking rice rolls while enjoying the lush scenery. “I think this is the first industry meeting for a lot of people in a long time,” Zhou said. “It’s times like these that we need a chance to come together in real life.”
Prada’s Beijing event came at a time when the capital city is still maintaining strict COVID-19 regulations to stay in line with its “dynamic zero” policy. Bars and music venues remain closed, with regular testing required for people to enter public spaces.
Prada became the first luxury brand to host a physical runway show in China this year. According to local industry insiders, Louis Vuitton may be the only other brand planning to hold a fashion show in the country this year.