As the graphic videos dispensing vintage beauty advice (“brush your hair 100 strokes a night”) and neurotic clichés (“he loves me…he loves me not…I cannot handle this”) hinted, something slightly retro and girly was at hand at Prada. Indeed, before her Thursday night show, Miuccia Prada declared her collection “very feminine” and “sexy,” noting a big emphasis on the breasts. And this being Prada, her audience should have expected nothing less than all of those things served up in a most unconventional, and in this case, truly exceptional way.
Sex appeal — this collection had plenty. But in Prada’s world, it’s not about baring all, but covering it up, a point she made straight out of the gate with a plain black wool dress with long sleeves, high-cut neck and knee-length, A-line skirt ruffled at the hem. It was conservative, almost funereal, but for the suggestive, exaggerated darts at the bust. With her premise of endlessly chic, subverted classics, many of them plucked from her own repertoire, thus established, Prada went to town, sending out a legion of prim, proper ladies each with a subtle perverse streak. Some shapes were cast through a seemingly Sixties reference point, such as little jackets, with doubled-up collars, one knit, one fur, and matching skirts cut from thick black and camel ciré, that had the effect of high-gloss vinyl. That mood proved a staple, reappearing in mismatched marled cable knits, one of the collection’s biggest and best motifs. They came in chunky sweaters belted over skirts and a gorgeous swingy red-and-black coat. Such sturdy, librarian-chic daywear stood in striking contrast to the more glamorous evening pieces, including a black wool shift and coat, embroidered with slick jet beads down the front.
Then there were the ruffled bosoms of fit-and-flare dresses bursting with eyelet frills, some alternating black and white, others trimmed in bright blue that drew the eye directly to the bust. It was demure yet seductive, an idea Prada hammered home by casting a few Victoria’s Secret Angels, such as Doutzen Kroes, the buff bombshell, here turned out in a sleeveless, full-skirted dress daintily cinched at the waist.