Models wear creations as part of the Prada Spring-Summer 2020 collection in Milan. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Sustainability is coming into even sharper focus at Milan Fashion Week.

The industry is seeking to show its mettle in big and small ways after 32 leading fashion companies signed off on a set of shared goals presented to the leaders of Group of 7 industrial nations.

That can mean experimental textiles and ecological materials, or editing a collection down to its purest form, getting rid of excesses. Hitting a balance is a challenge for designers, facing the demand for constant novelty while trying to maintain a socially responsible profile.

Prada is one of the designers who launched Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday previewing their spring/summer 2020 collection.

Already essential, Muccia Prada is trying a less-is-more aesthetic, also in support of a sustainable agenda.

The Prada collection featured a mix of basics with staying power — simple suits, knit skirts and top combos — alongside more adorned pieces like beaded overcoats that can become heirlooms.

Prada Spring-Summer 2020 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Prada Spring-Summer 2020 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Prada said the idea she was trying to convey was that the person wearing the garments "is more important than the fashion".

The sometimes austere looks at times summoned images or elements of puritans, nuns, and schoolmarms — all with a subversive fashion edge. Textiles formed the leitmotiv of the collection: heavy male wools, rough silk and muslin.

The collection opened with a fine-knit gray sweater and straight light rose muslin skirt, introducing muslin as a mainstay of the collection. Other pieces included simple, sweet summer dresses fastened at the shoulders with bows, and tiered looks, perhaps contrasting velvet panels at the neck, like a soft judicial frill. Mix-and-match suits featured two-button blazers in blue over gray button-down shirts and wide-legged brown trousers, for a look of classic ease.

Prada Spring-Summer 2020 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Prada Spring-Summer 2020 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The work about subtraction, Prada said, is to counter a prevailing sense "that there is too much of everything".

The looks were finished with floppy rain hats — often in gold or silver lame — and flat or heeled loafers and sandals. Shell jewellery had a do-it-yourself feel, as did rattan and bucket bags, with nautical knots forming the handles.

Prada Spring-Summer 2020 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Prada Spring-Summer 2020 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

"It's simple, without being minimalist," Prada said.

Prada Spring-Summer 2020 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Prada Spring-Summer 2020 collection. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

AP