PARIS — Backstage after a fashion show, Miuccia Prada typically accepts congratulations and then, flush with her creative high, holds an impromptu press conference for a pack of journalists eager to hear about her inspirations and references.
On Saturday night in Paris after showing her resort collection for Miu Miu, she held up her hands protectively when the scribes approached and declared: “It’s a party!” Then she took her seat at a big mirror-topped dinner table and fell into conversation with filmmaker Roman Polanski.
What could she have said? The theme of the collection was plain: the swirling psychedelic prints, crochet vests and shift dresses telegraphing that groovy late Sixties/early Seventies period, one of the most colorful in fashion history, and one Prada has dipped into previously for her quirky, second designer label. You could almost hear Austin Powers growling: “Groovy, baby.”
Plain, too, are Prada’s ambitions for Miu Miu, telegraphed by her Paris event, of a scale approaching the resort blowouts mounted by bigger European players including Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton — and on the eve of couture week, no less.
Editors were practically outnumbered by VIPs, among them Uma Thurman, Marc Jacobs, Steve McQueen, Léa Seydoux, Isla Fisher, Gemma Arterton, Freida Pinto, Saoirse Ronan, Emily Browning, Emmanuelle Seigner, Mélanie Bernier, Douglas Booth, Dominic Cooper and Stacy Martin, the doe-eyed “Nymphomaniac” star and face of Miu Miu’s fall-winter campaign.
Thurman came with her statuesque daughter, Maya-Ray, who just turned 16, and kept adjusting a red stole on her shoulder. “Is it summer?” she asked, alluding to the underwhelming, room-temperature weather in the French capital.
McQueen, the Oscar-winning director of “Twelve Years a Slave,” brought his fashion-loving daughter Alex, also 16. “I’m her chaperone,” he demurred.
Fisher’s next project is “Grimsby,” a spy comedy film by her husband, Sasha Baron Cohen. “I play Jodie Figgis, she’s a….,” Fisher said, suddenly stopping herself. “Erm, it’s top secret.”
Seydoux is in the midst of filming “Diary of a Chambermaid,” the third film adaptation of the classic French tale, this one set in the late 19th century. (Jeanne Moreau played the lead in a 1964 version.) “She’s twisted,” Seydoux said of her domestic character, explaining “in the sense that she’s very complicated.”
Arterton is set to play the title role in her first West End musical, “Made in Dagenham,” about a 1968 strike at a Ford car plant. “It’s proper Sixties,” she said of the costumes. “I’ve got two or three wigs — big beehive-y ones.”
Cooper enthused about the costumes for his latest film, “Warcraft,” a forthcoming fantasy epic based on the popular video game series. “I play the king,” he said.
Up-and-coming English singer Josephine Oniyama kicked off the evening with three songs, including one “about how we are all attached to our mobile devices.”
As soon as she started strumming her guitar, Alexa Chung dipped her head and tapped out a quick message on her smartphone — and Jacobs brought up a picture on his to show to Grace Coddington, seated next to him.
Returning to the imposing Palais d’Iena, built in 1937, Prada laid out a set resembling a retro airport lounge, complete with “Star Trek”-worthy chairs, mirrored cubes and a carpet with a loud, geometric print. It was a perfect backdrop for her stewardess pantsuits and flaring coats and pinafores, paraded to Deee-Lite’s burbling “What is Love.” To be sure, Prada’s take on a well-tread fashion era was fetching and polished.
The opening look, a long-sleeved minidress flaring ever so slightly, set tone for the show and established its main silhouette — prim and covered up. The tailored looks resembled uniforms with their neat rows of silver buttons and contrasting yokes and pocket trim. Psychedelic prints eventually took over more real estate: super on chiffon blouses; at times overwhelming on flared trousers. Paisleys were used as appliqué motifs on suede miniskirts or as an allover print on short and snappy coats and dresses. In orange, blue and green shades, they resembled retro wallpaper, a pattern seen elsewhere this resort season.
Crystal-heeled boots or jeweled gladiator sandals finished off the look. While the retro styling was often literal, those pot holder vests straight out of Haight-Ashbury, the show was fun and, as Deee-Lite’s Lady Miss Kier might say, “de-lovely.”
After dining on ricotta gnocchi and vitello tonnato, the stars were tugged to the dance floor by the monstrous bass lines Jefferson Hack was pumping out during his deejay set. Cooper took off his jacket and surfed the sonic waves with Chung and Arterton, before Jack White took to the stage for a blistering set to cap off Prada’s party.