Though it's easy to find thin knits in a multi- tude of colours these days, it's decidedly harder to find a nice thick knit in a colour that goes beyond the classic mail-order- catalogue spectrum of browns, neutrals and blues. So when Prada sent out post- modern, Pop Art-coloured waffle knits at its especially cerebral autumn/winter show in Milan in January, it was a potent message. On a screen behind the models, Marshall McLuhan-like aphorisms came and went, suggesting this was Prada's take on design in a digital world: Have material and visual culture become evolved or convoluted, revolutionary or revolting? Who are we, and who is the Prada customer?
"I can buy any expensive material I want, but I am also always attracted to trashy touches," explained Miuccia Prada backstage. There were '70s inflections to her idiosyncratic offerings for chaps who don't fear bright ideas. This covetable sweater, our pick of the lot, is made of pure merino wool in a cablè lana canestro - "basket-style" - knit. And Prada's futurist-but-retro take on menswear was echoed by other style-setters. Coloured chunky knits were the order of the day at Adam Kimmel, Gucci and Hermès, who all sent out blue incarnations of the cable sweater. YSL, Jil Sander and Lanvin played safer with grey versions of slouchy chunky knitwear.
While bright colour undoubtedly looks better on some shades of skin than others, red's power is surprisingly universal. Don't be afraid of it (unless you find yourself knee- deep in mud in a bull's field of course); face the winter with a defiant splash of colour.