On Wednesday, April 13, the Prada Foundation presented “Ex Limbo,” an intriguing exhibition that reveals an intimate glimpse at the foundation of Prada’s famed fashion shows – literally. The six-person Belgian design and architecture collective Rotor is behind the exhibition, in which architectural and scenographic remnants of fashion show sets designed by Prada transcend their place behind the scenes and take the spotlight.
The opening of the exhibition was attended by fashion and design enthusiasts such as Rem Koolhaas, Joseph Grima , architect Stefano Boeri, Maria Vittoria Backhaus, Giovanna Battaglia, Giò Marconi, Livia Giuggioli, Gustaf Beumer, Stefano Tonchi, and artist Francesco Vezzoli.
Fondazione Prada in Milan has been filled with elements of Prada’s fashion shows from as long ago as 1993. Previously dismantled and placed in storage, the pieces now take front and center. Piles of wood, polyethylene seats, metal structures, mirrors and walls, together with pieces from the last show, fill the space in Via Fogazzaro with a transformed physicality.
Seasoned Prada experts may recognize many pieces from the shows, such as sculptural plywood pieces that were used as seating in the 2009 seasons’ shows, the beige-painted plywood podium on which 40 photographers gathered for the fall/winter 2011 shows, metal structures made of steel tubes used to build the stands in the late nineties, and pink painted embossed steel plates that served as a floor covering in the fall/winter 2010 shows, among others.
The exhibition has a nostalgic feel as Prada enthusiasts get a chance to revisit the bits and pieces of fashion shows past. These constructional elements present a new way to view these seemingly disposable elements and to gain perspective on the ideas the represent. In Rotor’s recycle/reuse fashion, the entire exhibition embodies the principle – the exhibition catalog’s cover is even made of the vinyl that covered the Prada fall/winter 2011 catwalk.
Ex Limbo runs through June 5 at Fondazione Prada, Via Fogazzaro 36, Milan. It is free and open to the public. For more information visit www.fondazioneprada.org.