Miuccia’s military message at Prada
“Miuccia! Miuccia! Miuccia!” chanted the fans. Were we inside San Siro football ground? Had Liverpool signed a new star Brazilian forward? No it was backstage after a raucous, cartoon-driven, athletic sport infused and faintly outlandish show by Miuccia Prada, which was met by thundering applause as she took a dramatic bow.
Finally the fans – meaning the whole cast, her studio staff and even Pat McGrath, fashion’s most fabulous makeup artist – quieted down.
“Militarism. That’s the main idea”, said Signora Prada, as gangs of editors, artists and local honchos waited to compliment her. Much has been made about the recent cooling of sales at Prada. But, after several weak quarters, this felt very much like a designer fighting back.
Miuccia’s strongest ideas were cartoon images. These were plastered mega-large all across the walls of Prada’s via Spartaco show-space, and made up the prints of a whole series of looks. Most especially the excellent goatskin coats. Often on the back, where girly romantic cartoons of shy young women saying, “I love Prada.”
These same comic strip prints were repeated on a whole series of leather handbags. The designer also played with a series of great double-breasted boyfriend coats, in thick herring bone and camel hair, with an overlapping white trompe-l'oeil print - a great eye-catching fashion concept. Lapels finished with animal prints, ruby red crystals and candy colored buttons added to the whole sense of drama.
Everything hyper mixed, as Prada responds to the current obsession with jumbled up cultures in contemporary clothing. And frequently peculiar – like the jacquard dresses topped with mannish shirts. There are few more fertile minds in fashion than that of Miuccia Prada. Who created a new knee sock finished with musculature of what could have been a replicant from "Blade Runner". And, finally, some great Prada sneakers, like those of a cartoon superhero, and studded punk rock winkle pickers.
“Tom boys. Do what you want. Be independent”, was how McGrath described her brief after the show. Sounds like herself, and according to the British makeup artist, she has now launched her own capsule bomber jacket and T-Shirt line, currently sold in several score of Sephora stores where her beauty business is booming.
But her best work will always be at Prada, where one left the show sensing that Miuccia had suddenly woken up to the challenges of a new generation of rivals. And had thrown down the gauntlet in response.
Miuccia! Miuccia! Miuccia!
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