Miuccia Prada issued an austerity measure of her very own at the outset of her Miu Miu show. Colored in cement gray, matte mauve and black, the spare A-line skirts — high-waisted and cut midthigh — worn with buttoned-up shirts and tailored crop tops had the no-nonsense appeal of school uniforms. Some were topped off with stolelike capes that wrapped around the shoulders and tied at the side with a droopy velvety bow for a nudge of gloomy glamour.

This was an unexpected turn after the Fifties elegance and vitality of the Prada show. However, the drab but chic looks were only the beginning of the story — a foundation to build upon, with trapeze lace tunics worn over pleated skirts, and smocked dresses cut below the bust with tank straps on top. Gradually more color appeared until it exploded into folkloric prints, the meat of the collection. They recalled country wallpaper or china patterns in rich combinations of blue, white, red and gold. Whether a dainty, dotted floral on a white background or a bold patchwork, the patterns provided a quotidian contrast to the dressed-up Forties silhouettes cut with a hint of couture volume. Clad in little capes that just covered the shoulders and bow-tied jackets, the girls looked as if they had walked out of an ultrachic Grimm’s fairy tale. To grandmother’s house they go, with fabulous satin mini bucket bags on their arms, and crafty boots that bloomed with bright flowers on their feet.

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