I didn’t know what I was doing,” Miuccia Prada said after her Miu Miu show

Until last night I didn’t know what I was doing,” Miuccia Prada said after her Miu Miu show. “I entered the room this morning and said, ah! By chance I deconstructed elegance and exaggerated it, but made it nice for a young girl.” That epiphany pretty much summed up the collection, which captured the glamourous essence of fashion right now but hacked it up into a raw, dishevelled manifestation of contemporary elegance. It was the seductive silhouette of silver screen goddesses with all the bows and corsages the allure could take; then rioted against, all tattered and destroyed. Here, haute fabrics co-existed with low, things frayed and subverted. “When I’m front of a beautiful dress, there’s something about it… I can’t stand it. People in my office, they have to destroy it, they have to ruin it. The obvious beauty is really something I physically can’t... They say, ‘Miuccia, please! One! At least keep one as it is!’” Mrs Prada recounted. “We did everything in six days. Usually it’s ten. I vaguely start thinking while I’m doing Prada,” she noted, nodding and smiling when someone referenced Project Runway.

“Until I’m under pressure I like everything, but the more time passes the more I hate everything. I do a show every month and a half.” What has hit Prada on that never-ending hamster wheel is that fashion isn’t living up to its own standards. Two weeks ago, in Milan, she presented a Prada collection rooted in the rise of conservatism she is observing in society: all the codes of the conformist establishment countered by a sense of punk. “With Miu Miu I’m less angry,” she pointed out. “I’m always against the cliché of beauty, because that’s what ruins women. I am angry for another reason: that everyone talks about future and revolution, but truthfully, we are going backwards instead of forwards. In Milano I wanted to do a show that was really conservative but really seriously different. That would have been the only really revolutionary show. I am probably a modernist in spirit – always against the rules – but I would have wanted the courage to do something selfish and so conservative like the world is now. We are talking about avant-garde and so on, but look at how people dress: less and less!” Prada lamented.

“And I wanted to do an experiment with those clothes, because I’m sure tomorrow the buyers will start saying, ‘Eh, but can we not make the bows smaller?’ This time I wanted to do a room with the beautiful and the destroyed and see what happens.” It was an above all honest statement from a designer, who has just recently got her the revenue of her company back on form, but who must feel a desire to indulge in the pure creation that really changes fashion – and hopefully impacts its surroundings – rather than the marketeered merchandise that’s sure to be a hit with the Asian market. The Miu Miu collection, set to a newly unearthed and very sombre acoustic Prince soundtrack, sufficiently downplayed codes of glamour and grandeur for a market motivated by accessibility. The real message, however, was Mrs Prada’s appeal to our mutual appetite for seduction: the bold and the beautiful.


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