Earlier this week Prada shot down rumors that it would either scrap or alter certain pieces from its bananas and stripe-heavy spring 2011 collection. Although the label dismissed the notion, mostly to diffuse rumors that its chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli was unhappy with the collection, WWD cited, the alteration of runway pieces before they hit the sales floor is actually an overwhelmingly common practice in the fashion industry.
Despite the tag "ready-to-wear," that isn't always the case as garments make their way from catwalk looks to everyday apparel. A buyer we recently talked to said that common changes from runway to production include hemlines being dropped, toning down embroidery, sequins, and other flashy embellishments, sizing down shoulder pads and reducing the severity of cuts like super-steep v-necks.
While this does take some of the magic out of the illusion, designer fashion is ultimately a sales-driven industry. Try as one might to carry off a dress as well as the model wearing it down the runway, the overwhelming number of a label's consumers cannot. Rather than cheating their fans out of the full "haute style" treatment, they're offering them a greater wearability.
Sometimes the concept of what's actually wearable might even vary between markets. As another insider explained to us, often enough there can be two versions of the same dress floating around sales floors: one for western and one for Asian markets, for example.
Prada may not be making any major changes to its newest collection this season, but we'd be surprised to learn that they label hasn't done so in the past.