For Prada’s Steampunk Collection, Surreal Ads By Koolhaas’s Firm

It’s back to the Edwardian future for Prada this season, as presented by an AMO-directed video lookbook.

When Prada debuted their Winter/Fall 2013 collection, back in January, they sent actors like Willem Dafoe and Adrien Brody down the runway clad in long overcoats with 19th century details coupled a retro-futuristic ’60s vibe. “Clothing is a tool of power and a way to express male vanity,” said Miuccia backstage. Some critics described the collection with that dreaded word–steampunk.


The clothes are only just hitting stores this month, and last week Prada released the accompanying video lookbook–designed and directed by AMO, the research arm of OMA. Real Fantasies, which clocks in at two minutes and showcases roughly 20 looks, is a lo-fi collage of grainy still photos, video, and electronic bleeps.

Two men dressed in long wool driving jackets greet each other in front of a matrix of high-speed trains. Two women in front of a grand neoclassical staircase exchange cash for some unseen goods or services. The video references a handful of cultural touchstones, including Metropolis, Delirious New York, Kraftwerk, and Neuromancer. In a vague way, it refers to AMO’s concept of the Kinetic Elite, a class of future humans for whom life is a succession of airplanes and hotels. It depicts “a dystopian society of machines and jagged geometries, genetically perfected clones roam digital colonies, engrossed in oblique and possibly deviant power dynamics,” according to the designers.

The video ends up looking like an architecture school project produced by an Albert Speer/Archizoom collab. In fact, it was art directed by AMO’s Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli and Fausto Fantinuoli, with art from a team including Jeroen Koolhaas–one half of muralist group Haas&Hahn.

OMA’s 15-year collaboration with Prada has been long and fruitful, producing a handful of stores, events, and of course, the Transformer. The two companies, in a way, have a similarly inclusive view of contemporary lifestyle (Koolhaas famously argued that “everything is shopping and shopping is everything”). The Rotterdam office has also designed Prada’s runway shows, including the Milan debut of this collection.

As always, YouTube commenters provide us with a bird’s-eye view of public reactions. Though thumbs down are trailing thumbs up by a ratio of 2:1, many commenters are perplexed by the low production quality of the renderings and the Eurocentric models. “Prada has more money than god,” says one, “how did this happen?” Another comes to AMO’s defense, explaining, “It’s supposed to be weird, you idiots!”


About the author

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan is Co.Design's deputy editor.