Backstage after showing her fall collection, Miuccia Prada was playing hard to get, cerebrally speaking. “I don’t want to talk about ideas,” she said, explaining that her focus was on pure fashion and strength of silhouette. Still, knowing that, she — she of the deep-thoughts-inspiring-great-clothes school of fashion — had prepared a secondary, more classically Prada-esque answer. “I didn’t want to talk about power,” Prada offered. “It’s a suggestion of importance and beauty.”
Importance and beauty — check and check. For all the youthful futurism of neon eyelids and ironed-straight, two-tone hair, these were clothes of a certain gravitas, utterly elegant, even obviously so. They were both restrained (graceful tailoring that emphasized the slightly high waist and a long, elegant line, as well as pants) and lavish (bountiful 3-D embroideries that played linear arrangements and plastic modernity against the timeless allure of glitz).
Black dominated the lineup, with jackets, coats (some cut into dashing tails), tunics and dresses topping pants cut — and often jeweled — above the ankles. The length and movement of the top layers removed the look from a standard men’s wear association. Every girl carried a bag: at first, large, plain structured leather beauties, which became more gussied up and varied in size as the parade progressed.
Just as Prada set up an expectation of all black, all the time, out came a belted coat over pants in a small rust-toned foulardlike pattern, followed by another suit in mustard, then one in marigold, one in curry. Soon, the geometrics got bigger and more volatile: a long vest and pants in jarring contrast. Those in the audience old enough to remember couldn’t help but flash to the designer’s famous Geek Chic of the Nineties. Only here, Prada left the geek behind, leaving only the chic. Challenging? Absolutely. Don’t expect to see these patterns coming and going. But what would a Prada show be without a pushed idea or two, even if the lady doth protest? Or for that matter, without a dose of irony? When she came out for her bow, Prada stumbled briefly atop a pair of her own demonstrative shoes. Somewhere, in secret, a model smiled.