“We all know Karl loved a mock neck,” said Jason Bolden, Wade’s stylist. “He loved leather. He loved black. This is like a very subtle ode to that particular moment. But we wanted to keep it completely Prada. The DNA of Mrs. Prada and Raf Simons is part of it.”
“I really love this look,” Wade said as Bolden watched approvingly from the wings. “I was a little concerned coming off the Met last year because I feel like as a man, I couldn’t go no harder. I felt sexy. Another man told me, ‘Hey, I think you outdid your wife on the carpet.’ That’s saying a lot, you know? That never happens.”
Wade is far from your average jock. He gets a facial every two weeks. His nails are painted several different colors. His barber traveled with him to New York, and when I spoke to him on Friday, he said he’d just gotten cut but anticipated possibly needing another shape-up before the Met. Sure enough, when he took his seat at Sunday’s Knicks-Heat game at Madison Square Garden, I noticed that he had made a pit stop in the barber’s chair. Like a ball handler surveying the defense, he’s all about finding what feels good before choosing a lane to attack. But he’s also not afraid to pass it off to someone who may have a better shot.
“I take a lot of my creative [direction] from people who understand the fashion pulse,” Wade said. “Once we knew we were going with Prada, now it starts with, ‘Hey, how do we want this to feel and look?’ We just kind of work backwards from there. So we start coming up with a concept, and then it goes to a drawing and so forth.”
He’s hesitant to call himself a trend setter, though he will readily acknowledge that he’s willing to take some fashion risks that other athletes might not. Wade was drafted in 2003, entering a league that was still in the throes of the fitted hat and tall tee era. As his career progressed and his clothes got tighter, Wade said he was the brunt of incessant jokes from his teammates. Young D-Wade didn’t have to think much about what he’d wear to a game. Late-career D-Wade got made fun of for wearing colored pants and having his picture taken as he strolled from the bus to the locker room.
“Now, people wake up in colored pants,” he laughed. “That’s safe!”