PRADA GETS APP: Miuccia Prada is a proud contrarian, whether it comes to her design aesthetic (ugly/pretty) or her analogue philosophy toward luxury retail: Prada and Miu Miu have deliberately held back on digital retail initiatives. Now Prada is putting aside her resistance to the digital world for the eighth Miu Miu Women’s Tales installment, done in collaboration with performance artist Miranda July. For the project, to make its debut tonight during the Venice Film Festival, July has created an app called “Somebody,” which, true to Prada’s paradoxical form, “is the antithesis of this utilitarian efficiency that tech promises,” according to a press release.

Here’s how it works: The app (free on iTunes today) is a message service, but instead of sending the message to the user’s intended recipient, it goes to the user standing closest to the intended recipient. The actual recipient is then supposed to deliver the message to the person in real life. Put more poetically in the Prada statement: “‘Somebody’ works when you send a message to an intended recipient, a friend, a lover, a family member.…The message goes not to the intended recipient, but to the person geographically nearest in proximity to the intended recipient. The messenger, most likely a stranger, delivers the message verbally, acting as your stand in.”

This story first appeared in the August 28, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

July has made a short film, also to be screened in Venice, that illustrates uses for the app — breakup, make up, etc.

Presumably some of the guinea pigs for the app will be the VIPs invited to the dinner Prada is holding Friday in honor of the whole artistic, digital mind-bender. Guests expected include Kirsten Dunst, Lena Dunham, Dakota Fanning, Felicity Jones, Edward Norton, Jenni Konner, Joel Cohen and Francesco Vezzoli.

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