Puff-mania has broken out, and the fashion houses are adapting

Fashion opens up to a new comfort zone: it is puff-maniathe search – and the desire – for garments that welcome us making us feel at ease, reassuring us, as if we were pampered when we wear them, without losing sight of their cool side.

A striking example is Prada which has “inflated” its most iconic pieces by outlining a new personality. Let’s think about loafers of the brand, black, austere, timeless and versatile. Let’s see them now in version puff: we certainly notice a new softer and more cheeky silhouette and a sole with a modernist design that dialogues with the padded nappa leather, giving the shoe an aspect that is close to the oversized taste of Gen Z.

Also there Prada Moon and the Prada soft they become puffs: the it-bags of the 2000s are reinterpreted with a new style, soft and simple, enriching the bag with a three-dimensional game given precisely by the use of nappa leather.

The process of “puffification” that fashion is undergoing derives, like any trend, from the socio-cultural phenomena that occur in the world. If in his penultimate fashion show, before leaving the creative direction of Moschino, Jeremy Scott brought the hot topic of inflation onto the catwalk, using raised hems and oversized volumes – a metaphor, in fact, for inflating prices – thus the pandemic changed our lives, including our way of dressing.

The days forced at home have led us to embrace the sporty style and not want to abandon it even once the restrictions are over. The desire for freedom has taken the comfy arm in arm and mixed it in our outfits. Both visions are found in the desire to create oversized volumes, whether for convenience or in a metaphorical sense of an economy marked by inflation.

On social networks, the phenomenon has already exploded with the term “the puffification” or “puffy-fication“, and already before Prada the short and padded oversized down jacket by Loewe had made stars and celebrities fall in love: Taylor Russell, Hailey Bieber And Kendall Jenner in fact, they posted several photos while wearing their jacket during a walk in the city or on a ski vacation in Aspen.

The puffy trend has been real lifeblood for the New York brand Coach that thanks to Pillow Tabby Bag has achieved a perfect balance between past and future. The bag, a reissue from the 1970s, was launched on the market in 2021 and has since been immediately loved by Millennials and Gen Z, rightfully falling into the it-bag category.

Bottega Veneta Pillow Bag

The puffy has also conquered Bottega Veneta who brought to the catwalk the Pillow clutch baga pillow-shaped bag, e Rick Owenswho alternated puffer dresses with polygonal shapes in metallic colors to long cloaks with trains. Harikrishnan, a young emerging designer, for his graduation show at the London College of Fashion, designed inflatable latex trousers combined with tailored jackets and tank tops made of handcrafted wooden beads. The pants are made from 30 latex panels and once worn they inflate like balloons through a 7mm valve. To take them off, just let the air out for two minutes. The idea came to him while walking his pug Kai and imagining the pants seen from his dog’s height. However, the item is not for sale because the main objective of the project is to enhance the skills of a historic artisan community in Channapatna, India, where the designer learned to shape wood.

My project wants to underline the contrasts of reality itself, but also of images, materials and different approaches to life. No one expects Channapatna wood to be reworked into fashion as it is used for games and similar products. But by reinterpreting tradition through the lens of fashion, I also wanted to make this material dynamic, flexible and suitable for the luxury market.


HARRIalso a stylist graduated from the London College of Fashion, designed the inflatable dress with which Sam Smith performed at the 2023 BRIT Awards and which, just like Harikrishnan, carries a message. The dress – black, with balloon-shaped legs and shoulders, platform boots and gloves – launches an alarm towards the obsessive and excessive concern that society imposes on us towards our image, often giving rise to body dysmorphia, especially in the young. The singer’s decision to wear the dress came after the bodyshaming recently undergone and “celebrates the natural form and beauty of being yourself,” said HARRI.

Whether the smurfing process is just a passing trend or becomes a point of reference for the next collections we cannot know, what is certain is that we have yet another proof that fashion is not just about appearing but about being, about expressing who we are without speaking.

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