Prada is one of those shows that everyone gets really worked up about because it’s a defining moment. Every city has a designer or two who have the power to stop a trend in its tracks and move fashion off in a completely different direction. Milan has Miuccia. The walls of the huge Prada venue had been decorated with graphics of pie charts, graphs and bullet point statistics, like a text book or some mind numbing marketing report.
The colours and graphics looked communist era. The first look on the runway had a 1960’s vibe too. At first glance the prim shift dress, the patent stiletto heels and hair scraped back from the face and piled into teased bun tamed with a wide cable knit band, looked very Mad Men. But the shift dress that seemed so simple had surreally exaggerated bust darts. A Mad Men era two-piece of cigarette pants, stiletto and shell top looked equally classic until it was clear that the frilled yoke sat out from the bust like a kind of cone-shaped scoop. The 60’s theme played out with abstract geometric prints in muddy colours (a Prada favourite), nerdy secretary specs, shiny patent ladylike bags, fit and flare shifts and full skirts stuffed with petticoats.The bosom dysmorphia played out with more lace frilled bodices set into the simplest dresses and shell tops. And even coats had halter pieces that were designed to present the decolletage. It was uber-femininity. It was Mutant Mad Men.
Was she saying that something that seems simple at first is not simple at all? Was she referencing hidden depths, something dark in the classic femininity. The newspapers are full of stories about events/people/things that are not what they first seemed. New York and London fashion weeks have delivered lots of classic clothes for complicated times. Miuccia spiced hers up with some chic subversion. The models looked elegant but severe, almost robotic, in their identical hairdo’s and fit and flare dresses. Their boxy little lady like jackets with neat collars were not classic patent but glossy vinyl. The neat little mink collars were dyed electric blue. The tweedy A line skirts were actually chunky marl knits.
Behind the discreet charm of Prada’s classic clothes is a rebel yell.
- Paula Reed in Milan