Live in performance at Miu Miu: the spunky rapper Tommy Genesis. On the soundtrack: cross-generational actresses delivering wink-wink renditions of girly amusements — Rita Hayworth (“I’ve Been Kissed Before”); Marilyn Monroe (“You’d Be Surprised”); Nicole Kidman (“Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”).
In Miuccia Prada’s mind, the two approaches to performance are opposite sides of the same coin. “The idea was of a cabaret, and so we wanted some performance. That young girl — she was gorgeous,” Prada said at the delightfully unstructured post-show dinner. “We started looking at women singing in movies. Actresses perform their songs. It’s not that I understand about music, but I understand feelings. Maybe we sound stupid, but we loved it. We went with it. It’s a tradition of strong women.”
While Prada’s original notion was for a cabaret, when her first venue fell through, she somehow got the notion for the Automobile Club de France, which, for many fashion people has been hiding in plain sight all along — it’s adjacent to the just reopened Crillon on the Place de la Concorde. “It’s rare to discover a place in Paris that’s so central,” Prada said. “And I love this square.” The club is both très fancy and restricted — its membership men only. But not on Sunday night, when this resort season’s iteration of the Miu Miu Club brigade vroomed in. Prada installed her cabaret in the ultra tony library, small tables set atop a carpet with wide, graphic racing stripes marking the models’ path.
Chicken or egg? In this case, there’s an answer: The venue came first, and the clothes followed. But they had nothing to do with retro chic of the sort flaunted — along with a lot of cars — in the series of vintage photographs covering the walls of the Club’s ground floor. Rather, Prada went for cheeky riffs on racing gear. The theme providing context for some feisty, straight-forward casual clothes worn with a wink, a nod and the occasional flamboyant mink coat. (Vibrant intarsia patches, anyone?) It started with the designer’s “fixation with the tracksuit” — the auto racing kind, a onesie — and a premise of pure fun; no deep fashion thoughts here. But plenty of rompers, including Tommy Genesis’ gyration-friendly blue knit. There were long versions, too, drawing from sports and workwear. They came in knits, gingham, big florals and charming conversational prints, and were decorated with racing stripes and patches, sometimes bedazzled. Because on life’s fashion track, a girl likes to sparkle, even when dressing down. Ladies, start your engines.