Prada goes steampunk

Prada's fall 2012 menswear line is awfully steampunky -- modelled by Gary Oldman, Jamie Bell, Garrett Hedlund, and Willem Dafoe.

Prada Menswear Fall 2012 Ad Campaign (Thanks, Matthew)

(Images: Steven Meisel/


  1. Mmmm.

    I see potential here, but there is too much of a bathrobe vibe. The patterns need to be a little more sedate.

    Also, these gentlemen need to be wearing leather aviator’s helmets with brass goggles. I mean, really. Get with the program.

  2. We are actually all going to end up looking like Adam Jensen from Deus Ex: Human Revolution  (perhaps minus the robot arms). Combine that Prada line with Google’s Project Glass thing and you’re half way there already.

    1. I think DE:HR is more Gareth Pugh than Prada. It’s more Elizabethan than Victorian inspired but I can see where you’re coming from, please forgive my pedantry!
      Oh yeah, and if all men end up looking like Adam Jensen let me be the first to say that I have absolutely no problem with that! XD

      1. Technically the Tesla death ray didn’t come about till much later in his life…

        But I would pay to see a steampunk movie where Tesla had enough influence and support to arm the US with death rays to fend off the evil Edison…   Need to work Wardenclyffe into it somehow as well.

        1. I think you’re on to something: Tesla vs. Edison, with Willem Dafoe as the former and Gary Oldman the latter.  Hollywood, make this happen!

          1. Edison, practicing his lethal ninja death moves to the sound of Beethoven and Mozart on wax cylinder, vs. Telsa, perfecting his to the sound of Theremin on Theremin (OK, Theremin is too early, so what!)! DC/AC Battle Royale to the death at the 1876 expo hall in Washington, DC!

        2. True, the death ray didn’t come out until much later. 

          However, recall how although Doc Brown didn’t unveil his working prototype until he was much older, he did have the concept sketched out decades before. 

          If this were to be a Hollywood or indie production, some sort of adjustment would be easy to figure out that would preserve our suspension of disbelief at a reasonable level. 

          As for carbon arc lightsabers, I wonder how that would work. I bet it would smell something fierce…

  3. I get more of a upper-class 1 percent Robber Barron vibe from those, you can almost see the snear looking down on the masses…all they need are monocles and silver tipped canes.

    1.  Yes, disappointed that such a major label couldn’t get the fit right on the models they’ve used.

  4. I like the coat Defoe is wearing. Too bad I can’t afford Prada. Maybe a knock off will trickle down to realistic  prices.

      1.  0_O it looks like a trench coat, not something a pirate would wear. Well… maybe a WWI pirate conscripted and serving for the Fatherland.

  5. It’s ok. I already love Prada. I’d love to see men’s suits get a little more adventurous and interesting too in a way that men will actually wear (most are not going to wear a lace dress after all).

    1. If we’re going to shake up men’s utterly stagnant fashion, surely we can do better than this Prada line.

      1. Men’s fashion will never get shaken up.  Most of the money spent on clothes is in the hands of guys who value familiarity far more than novelty.  They don’t want to be pleasantly surprised.  They want to be comfortably garbed.
        Many women are just the opposite: if it’s recognizable, it’s worthless and if it’s fresh, they want it.
        Look at the lineage of American business/formal menswear.  Saville Row begat Brooks Brothers who begat Ralph Lauren who begat Nautica and dozens of department store derivatives.  All without significant change.  Nobody sticks their neck out except to put on another rep stripe tie.

        1. Dunno. Wasn’t always so. Isn’t so in all cultures. So why expect it to last forever, when so far nothing else has?

          Or maybe I just need hope.

          1. Men’s formal fashion stopped evolving in the early 20th century.  It’s an abnormal trend if you consider how other aspects of culture have evolved.

          2. Not if it is an evolutionary dead end going nowhere. Fashion is a relatively recent invention.

          3. Fashion is a relatively recent invention.

            Recent as in only around for about 10,000 years?

          1.  And I’ll thank you for that.  Louis XIV picked up the cravat because he had a big ol’ goiter on his neck, though.

        2.  You say that like it’s a bad thing…?

          I’d argue that the slow pace of change in menswear allows those interested in it to learn more about things like fit, construction, & fabric than might otherwise be feasible. It’s also more economical; people can make an informed investment & enjoy it for many years. To illustrate, my girlfriend recently bought a couple of lady-suits to build up her professional wardrobe.  They’re basically unalterable, likely to look “out of fashion” by next year, & noticeably cheaply made. Meanwhile, my purchases will look great for decades, if properly maintained. The pleasant surprises spring from the choice of accessories, not so much the canvas.

          I think a lot of men value a certain level of predictability/tradition. Chasing trends can lead to the somewhat silly-looking, instantly dated fits on display in this article.

          1. Chasing trends can lead to the somewhat silly-looking, instantly dated fits on display in this article.

            Circular logic. It looks silly to you because you’ve defined difference as silly looking.

        3. We are long overdue for a return of the fop.  Prince tried to bring it back, but we weren’t ready for it.

        4. I kinda like it this way. With the exception of certain atrocities from the 70’s & 80’s, one can wear decades-old clothing without looking dated, hipster or whatever. I am 41 years-old and I have clothes and other items I have had since my early 20’s or before, and I have other stuff that were hand-me-downs from older relatives and etcetera that are decades and decades old.  

          On the other hand, for every trendy womens item, there are several classic items like the men’s items I described above. So perhaps the same holds for womens clothes. With the exception of certain trendy items and atrocities, fashion generally remains stable over time. 

          Sure there is a pendulum, black this year, brown next year, wide lapels then thin lapels and so forth, but for example, something like ‘no lapels’ might appear and be cool for a season, but ‘no lapels’ will never enter the cycle. There are exceptions to this – I can think of several but it seems that this is in general, the cycle.

  6. You know granted they look pretty swank, but damn it’s like 90F here and pushing 60% humidity and I sweat pretty bad….  I’m just sweating thinking about all those layers.

    1. Every time I fantasize about living in the Victorian era, I end up coming back to things like air conditioning and modern medicine.

  7. Prada’s the real deal.  From a distance it all looks like expensive high fashion but they put real thought into pattern, texture, shape and construction.  Look out for the dress shoes, though.  Fully half of them will make you wish your feet had no nerve endings.

  8. If only I was the kind of guy who spent vast sums on clothing, I’d be first in line for these. Or my valet would be.

  9. The really retro look (steam punk is about right for a time period,) should look great on the oligarchs of every country, but I’ll consider only the US as that is what I have reliable statistics for.

    You and yours can grub around in the dirt like the street urchins in a Dickens novel. 

    Your parents can work like dogs for scraps and then die because they cant afford any medicine.

    Then is off to the workhouse for you (if you’re male,) or to walk the street (if you’re female.)

    The rich and wealthy will live in their mansions, or on their islands, and keep a retinue to serve them and protect them.

    They’ll be able to harvest healthy organs and modern medicine will keep them alive for a very, very long time.


    The US has become a government

    • OF the thousandaires (the 99%, that would be me and thee,)

    • BY the millionaires (the 1%, that would be the extremely insular privileged overlords and bosses,)

    • FOR the billionaires (the 12,400 individuals identified by the IRS as the people who count (though they don’t really count as they hire some thousandaires to run machines to do that.)

    But billionaires have a problem. Its called the thousand bucks a day problem.

    If we stopped the world from earning and nobody could get another dime, we could spend a thousand bucks a day for maybe a week before being broke, and our overlords could spend that much for a tad under 3 years before they’d be broke, but a billionaire has to live over 2,700 years before the money would run out.

    That put an entirely different complexion on the problem.

    How long until people like Larry Ellison, and perhaps lovable old Larry himself, decide that there’s too many of us, price the medical system out of reach and let us die like dogs in the street.

    It would mean that we’d be back in the dark ages and dying would be the result of a scratch or a bump against anything. (My great grand-mother died from a fall in Montréal. Not from hitting the ground but from an infection she got from hitting the ground. Antibiotics weren’t invented then and for us getting effective ones may be too expensive soon.)

    1. But one problem to your theory.
      -There are a few billionaires compared to many common folks.

      Just like powerful rulers through out history you can not simply exist (well perhaps on your private island you could) in a bubble.  If you wish to protect yourself and assets then you must have some defenses.  So now you are not just paying for yourself/family, you are also paying for the private commandos that protect you, and perhaps their families, your compound, ect..

      I don’t think it would devolve back to the middle ages.  We have people cooking up LSD and meth at home, I’m pretty sure us common folk could work out some basic home grown medicines.  Add in some good old barter and trade and you could still have a functional society.  If no one could make any more money…well there went the vast majority of tax revenue, so it’s not like the government is going to be held together long, followed by police, ect..

      I do agree that our modern medical care and technology in general would fall apart to some degree.  But I do wonder (at least in America) if you would see the rich hating on the poor.  A lot of them do believe in capitalist ideas, and with a lot of what they have in demand it looks like they could easily have a work force at their finger tips.  Thinking about it…it really sounds kind of like China.

    1. I agree. A few things – like the smoking jacket and waistcoat Gary Oldman’s wearing – look very Victorian, but for the rest there’s a real swinging London vibe. I almost expected to see Austin Powers modelling some of the pieces. :p

  10. Jeeves: “I found THIS item in our wardrobe this morning”.
    Bertie: “Oh Jeeves, we’re not going to have a disagreement about that hat, are we?”
    Jeeves: “I’m not yet in a position to say, sir.”

  11. but why haven’t they FIT the clothes properly? The hallmark of this kind of tailoring is *exquisite* fit … and these aren’t even competently fit. At this price point, the folks to whom they are marketing know about fit. The clothes are beautiful, but the fit is terribly awkward. No excuse, and surprised the shots got okayed for release on that basis.  :(

    1. Models come in standard sizes to fit the clothes for the show.  Actors aren’t necessarily built to model standard.  In the world of fashion, it’s the clothing that’s important, not the people who wear it.  In a similar vein, if you want to be a footman at Buckingham Palace, you have to be 5′-9″ tall and wear a 36 because that’s the standard size for the very expensive (and in some cases century-old) uniforms.

  12. Ah Prada. Never you mind the quality of the schmutter, or the cut. Just feel the weight of that price tag. I suspect these are not off the rack, but have at least been made to measure (but not fully bespoke) and they look terrible. Look at the way the brown double breasted jacket pulls across the front, or the rucked shoulder of the blue trench coat. Bear in mind they look this bad after being posed, styled, photographed and artworked by professionals.

  13. Without a sword, pistol or at LEAST a cane these fellas might as well be naked! You don’t really expect me to give the insolent a MANUAL thrashing, do you?!

  14. Hey! I still wear my Nehru jacket. Love me that Bond villain look. 

    As for these, mm, *crave*. But I want to know: the two bishie boys are obviously Messrs Oldman and Defoe’s seconds.  Who won the duel?

      1. There’s a word you don’t google every day.  Goes with the nym pretty well, though!

  15. @Antinous_Moderator:disqus Mr. Antinous/Moderator…

    You said, “Circular logic. It looks silly to you because you’ve defined difference as silly looking.”

    No, I’ve defined the clothes in the picture as silly looking because they’re flippin’ silly looking to me. There’s little textural difference between the fabrics, yet garish differences in pattern. The items are either overly loose, or impractically tight (if one were to bend one’s torso in that short-ass DB coat, one would expose plumber’s crack & pop buttons). These clothes look like cheap costumes, not handsomely made and durable items. This is an aesthetic judgment, and honestly not really subject to a  “logical fallacy” test.

    Sometimes there are advantages to hewing to a predefined set of parameters when being creative, as enthusiasts of the 808 drum machine, printing presses, etc. can attest.

    The more formal end of the male clothing spectrum has remained relatively static because it works: the cuts allow maximal enhancement/display of the male physique, while preserving grace during movement, and the patterns tend to be muted to allow for maximal deployment. Also, people think you’re HAWT when you wear the stuff well.

    Difference does not always = good, just as conformity does not always = bad. That non-conformist airplane design might look really cool, but it’s pretty useless if it defies basic aerodynamic rules. LIKE THESE CLOTHES.

    1. The more formal end of the male clothing spectrum has remained relatively static because it works: the cuts allow maximal enhancement/display of the male physique, while preserving grace during movement, and the patterns tend to be muted to allow for maximal deployment.

      You just described a unitard, not a suit.

      1. Huh. Not really interested in “moderating” today, are we.

        I had some arguments for the values of tradition, creativity through constraint, and basic utility in there. But perhaps you’d rather just poke at me for no particular reason.

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