The word “polo” can mean different things to different people. And, in the case of Volkswagen – the “people’s car”, no less – six different generations of its supermini vehicle, produced since 1975. Ask Raekwon from Wu-Tang Clan what polo implies to him and he would no doubt point you in the direction of his ‘Lo goose jacket. While for your typical British punter, it’s the name of the mint with the hole.
At first glance, Prada’s take on the polo seems to be more straightforward. That this particular garment more likely has its origins in tennis rather than the sport that shares its designation is perhaps a quirk of nominative history. Indeed, the modern polo shirt probably owes more to Mr René Lacoste than it does to the jodhpur-clad British ruling classes knocking about balls with wooden mallets in 19th-century India. (Where the types of polo necks made popular by the likes of Messrs Steve Jobs, Michel Foucault and Carl Sagan come from, meanwhile, is anyone’s guess, but given that each of these men is better known for thinking than galloping about on horseback, stomping divots or quaffing quinine-laced beverages between matches, it isn’t from the theatre of sport.)
That said, with these particular pieces, there’s the familiar sense of restraint you would expect from Prada. The Milanese powerhouse has a way of stripping an article of clothing down to its core, then building something better, and these four polo shirts are case in point. Each constructed from a lightweight cotton piqué with mother-of-pearl buttons, here’s an item that can still be traced back to the sporty attire you’d see darting about on Centre Court that also wouldn’t look out of place amid the stands overlooking it under a well-cut blazer.