in times of struggle and uncertainties, the primaeval instinct of survival kicks in and it is during these times that has the capacity to bring out the best in some of us. and it certainly has for fashion's most influential harbinger miuccia prada. abandoning the idea of toying with a somewhat frail sensuality with her menswear collections which she has been experimenting with for the past few seasons, prada shifted gears and instead focused on a darker and more assertive tone with her most recent collection. that need for strength to weather the storm ahead translated into a collection with clothes that had such a pronounced masculinity. coats and jackets were double breasted to enhance the character of the men's torso in various shades of grey with wide pronounced shoulders and peaked lapels to fully accentuate the difference between the male form from the female. as the collection progressed and the clothes appeared to be rather straightforward, or too simple for a prada show, slowly different elements began to appear to add some layers to the conceptual stew miuccia cooks up season after season. leather was treated as a normal fabric used as freely as an undershirt, a jumper, or a panel on trousers that hinted on something quite savage which was only heightened even more when slowly the studs started to appear. first as a decoration that outlined the wingtips of lace-up shoes and as a detail that framed the edge of collar and eventually covering knee length coats, shirts and trousers. the combination of leather and studs however did not evoke visuals of metal headbangers from the eighties. it did however give off that same feeling of toughness. of using such decoration as a form of armor to survive the dark mood that is enveloping the world. even the casting of the models has shifted away from a look that is androgynous into something decidedly more masculine. it was as if miuccia was sending down an army strong enough to survive the difficult times. despite such complex ideas, the strength of prada is her ability to translate her intellectual point of view into something that is both commercial and directional. and that mixed in with her uncompromising vision is her greatest weapon.