SAVANNAH — Miuccia Prada, on her first sojourn to Savannah, oohed and aahed all the way in from the airport. Never having set foot in the Deep South, she was wowed by the lush foliage, the architecture and was looking forward to some authentic Southern cooking.

“I’m taking her to my favorite downtown canteen, Lady & Sons,” said André Leon Talley, who brought Prada to Savannah over the weekend to accept the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award at the Savannah College of Art and Design. “The last time, I had the best grouper and vegetables, but everything is wonderful. I go there every time I’m here.”

Talley also took Prada to view a 300-year-old moss-draped oak tree, along with a few of the city’s most spectacular houses.

But they had to wait until Sunday to chow down and commune with nature. After flying from Milan via New York on Saturday afternoon, Prada arrived just in time to change clothes at Casey House, a beautifully renovated guest house owned by SCAD. She emerged in a white satin two-piece cocktail dress with black circles on the skirt, carrying a white fur wrap — glamorous, but totally superfluous for the city’s steamy climate. Prada was accompanied by Ingrid Sischy, editor of Interview magazine, and publisher Sandy Brant.

Talley has become the patron saint for SCAD. Since the Talley award’s initiation three years ago, he brought in Oscar de la Renta in 2001, who donated fabrics for design students to use, and last year mounted an exhibit of photographs by Karl Lagerfeld, though Lagerfeld didn’t attend. Prada, one of his favorites, was a coup for the school.

“She has the best ankles and legs, better than any supermodel, and I know all the supermodels,” said Talley during his introduction at the packed awards ceremony at the Trustees Theater downtown. “She constructs collections the way Tolstoy constructs sentences. Her tastes are the top of the top.”

At Casey House before the show, Talley raved about the designer, adding, “Anna Wintour lives in Prada.” Asked about the new book, “The Devil Wears Prada,” by former Vogue assistant Lauren Weisberger, Talley said, “We don’t read that book — Anna hasn’t read it, I haven’t read it. It’s written by a real person, but I don’t know her.”On another slightly sensitive topic, Prada, asked about Jil Sander’s return to the firm, announced last week, brushed off the question. “I’m not here to talk about Jil Sander,” she said, laughing.

She did want to talk about the student show. At the post-show party, she and Talley sat on a bench, too tired to stand, and held court. Prada smiled and gave everyone her full attention.

“It’s wonderful to see young designers with their dreams and fantasies,” she said. “I like to see the designers come out with their models on stage, because you can see how their clothes reflect their own style.”

Talley was a bit more realistic in his comments.

“There was less attention to construction this year, and the tailoring was lacking,” he said, but added, “it was fun, upbeat, and full of possibility.” He singled out Whitney Haines’ pink and black wool suits, as an exception, along with Kevin Dopp’s tailored punk leather collection.

Prada, working on her spring collection, described it as “starting from many elements, and changing every day. There are no rules now. In uncertain times, everyone likes to have options.”

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus