A cinematic context, a language of film, a mystery to be solved, a narrator reading words that the images bring to life – the Prada 2020 Holiday campaign «A Stranger Calls» is photographed by Steven Meisel and based on an original short story conceived and written for Prada by the best-selling author Candice Carty-Williams. It proposes perspectives – different angles, views and cuts around the protagonists of an unfolding narrative: Prada’s accessories, jewelry and leather goods. Each image, like movie stills, proposes a new panorama – like fragments of a story, about to unfold.
In the tradition of film noir, the campaign reconnects with early Prada moments pioneering the aesthetics of cinematic drama. A language then new for fashion, it now becomes layered with historical references – revisited through digital exchange with the audience.
Five characters, five faces cast from the universe of Prada – Freja Beha, Maty Fall, Mao Xiaoxing, Rudolfs Valbergs and Merlijne Schorren – populate an isolated villa in Italy, namely Villa Gnutti, made famous through a 1981 shoot by Helmut Newton. The stills are inspired by the moving, campaign imagery underscored by the esthetics of cinematic drama. Photographed in black-and-white, the fragments presented in the print campaign become the door to a living narrative that develops online. Jump shots from an imaginary film offer a sense of tension, sometimes of contradiction.
Cinema suggests shifting focus and points of emphasis: here, details of Prada accessories are pulled into macro-scale. Like plot-points, or clues to an unknown mystery, they dominate the frame, drawing attention – before Meisel’s lens, they become characters in themselves.
A focal point is the new Prada Cleo handbag, debuted in the Prada Multiple Views SS21 show and featured in the S/S 2021 womenswear collection. The Cleo line draws influence from archival Prada styles and traditional craft techniques, a synthesis of classicism and futurism. Precious jewels for her, in silver or gold with tourmaline, reinterpret the iconic lines of the Prada triangle, like facets of a gem abstracted, the emblem appearing as delicate chain necklaces, lariats and chandelier earrings. The Prada Galleria handbag, the Vanity compact-bags, Saffiano and nylon travel accessories and men’s jewelry all feature.
Heroes and heroines, protagonists and antagonists. A play between the still and the animated, this campaign – and these Prada accessories – explore emotion, intrigue, attraction and, ultimately, desire.
I love Newton, Meisel and Prada… a match made in heaven.
Photos: © Prada