A breather between blockbusters? While it’s tempting to look for intellectual subscript in every move Miuccia Prada makes, perhaps seeking out the deeper context isn’t always necessary. After spring’s majestic outing in which Prada celebrated her respect for fabric craft, shown against the provocative backdrop of a beautifully bleak purple desert, for fall she took a respite from deep fashion thoughts even though, ironically, “Thinking” was one of the titles she gave the show.
So what was she thinking? “I was thinking what women like: colors, bows, decorations,” Prada said backstage.
Everyone in the audience must have been thinking what a stark 180 from spring, but such seismic shifts are part of her brilliance. Simple enough — almost. With Prada, simplicity is relative. Here, her vision of prettiness fused retro shapes with technical foam jersey for a twinge of past-future dissonance. Thus, she had her show space arranged as a series of salons in pink, Prada green and in combination, with the vague atmosphere of an old-time couture salon, only each room had a section of industrial metal flooring and overhead, a mesh ceiling revealing the building’s unglamorous infrastructure.
Prada opened with neat Sixties shapes she’s worked before, but now in techy foam, mixing girly and acid colors to quirky effect (“Soft Pop” was another of her titles for the collection). Trim jackets had schoolboy spunk over cropped bell-bottoms, and shared the runway with lady coats and beautiful high-waisted dresses in cuts derived from midcentury couture. Again, she veered from the obvious, perverting the look into baby-doll tunic-over-pants ensembles.
As for Prada’s decorative streak, she started off by letting the color mixes do the work (acid green with shades of blue and a shot of pink; orange, blue, pink, gray), with handbags, shoes and gloves included in the vibrant, carefully wrought free-for-all. But with an outsize herringbone tweed, she introduced the add-ons: fur strips and vertical bows running down the sides of coats and jackets; big, plastic flower pins and crystal embroideries. The most eccentric looks had a little of this (wide fur epaulets), a little of that (colorblocking, crystals) and oodles of charm. And as the thinking woman knows, sometimes, that’s plenty.