Paris Fashion Week Spring / Summer 2012 Show Report: Miu Miu

06 October 2011

By and large, over the past week, Paris has offered some fantastic escapism from the grim reality that besets us all. Come the last day, lace, organza, light as air dresses and sugared almond colours had worked their way into our imaginary summer wardrobes. And then, at the final hurdle, as we were all about to go home, there was Miuccia Prada with grey shirts, black skirts, scatterings of ashen roses, stomp-worthy velvet mules, red eyeshadow (all the better to make you look like you have been crying your eyes out), heavy black velvet ribbon ties, sticky hair pasted onto the scalp and an apocalyptic soundtrack.

If the Vuitton show was a fashion reverie, Miu Miu was a merciless slap in the face. We can always rely on Miuccia to make us sit up and think. Piece by individual piece, each pin tucked dress, lace tunic and patchwork skirt will sit neatly with the mood of summer femininity. But the presentation was rooted in a starker reality. And you have to pay attention. Miuccia is a graduate of political science and mime, for goodness sake. Nothing goes down her catwalk by accident.

I feared for the models in their pin tucked cotton dresses, given volume with the elastic gathering of a child’s smock. The soundtrack seemed to imply they were like babes in a hostile wood. Dirndl shaped dresses made of a patch work combination that looked like it had come from a homespun rag bag were topped with capes or bubble backed coats that sat innocently off the shoulder. Peplum frills on skirts and capes, rose embellished cowboy boots and little gold framed bags all spoke of childlike dress up. But the catwalk presentation suggested their preoccupation made them unaware of impending dangers.

I can think of many ways to express a nihilistic world view. I am not convinced a dress is the best way to do it. But when everyone seems to have reached concensus, you can always rely on Miuccia to start another conversation.

This one scared the pants off me, I can tell you.

- Paula Reed in Paris


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