Before the start of Miu Miu’s spring show, the room was dark to enhance viewing of close-up video of  models’ faces, their hair pulled back in headbands, one with a bold swipe of red across her eyelids, another with crimson lips, that was projected on white bubble letters spelling out the brand’s logo. It made you wonder if a beauty launch was afoot. In fact, the collection was about “deconstructing beauty,” explained Miuccia Prada after the show. “It’s talking about what’s interesting now — tailoring, glamour, elegance — reworking it and that’s what I did.”

You could take her at her word. The building blocks of a woman’s wardrobe, with the exception of any trace of hyper casual athleticwear, were on Prada’s table, up for reassessment. The question posed seemed to be: How to make it modern? The answer was to be to embrace the look of DIY, recycling, upcycling even if everything is brand new. It was all far from homespun, yet it took Prada’s signature ugly/pretty (but pretty perfect) trope in a different direction with a rare exploration of the messier side of imperfection. Consider the casting: aside from a few big name models, the runway was full of un-classic beauties, a point driven home by their awkward, haphazard hairdos — bowl cuts and bangs that looked hacked off in the dark.

Prada culled from the classic Fifties/Sixties lady totems and exaggerated footwear that are her wont at Miu Miu, and cut them up, nipped, sliced and reassembled them. In some cases, namely men’s blazers and retro leather jackets, she left well enough alone. Floral print dresses were refashioned as tunics with triangles cut open on the midriff with excess material gathered the hip and worn over tiny bike shorts. Denim was sliced into skinny strips and reassembled into a full pleated skirt, and patchworked into a fantastic flapper dress trimmed in jet-black beading.

The shabby, threadbare silk faille riffs on girly dresses that opened the lineup were recut with a raw, minimalist edge and finished off with big bows. The beautiful Thirties-style sequined dresses that closed the show were artfully unfinished, falling off to reveal triangle bralettes in elegant dishabille. “The fact is, they will even buy it if it is destroyed or new,” said Prada. That’s modern beauty, elegance and glamour. What’s tattered and torn is triple the price.

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