“Female trouble” were the first words out of Miuccia Prada’s mouth when asked for a comment on her spring Miu Miu collection, another excellent drill from her jolie laide playbook. “Female Trouble” is also a 1974 John Waters film — its theme song featured on the show’s soundtrack — about Dawn Davenport (played by Divine), a spoiled schoolgirl-turned-juvenile-delinquent who runs away from home, gets pregnant and ends up modeling for a pair of seedy beauty-salon owners who believe that “crime equals beauty.” Like Waters, Prada can brilliantly manipulate the high and the low into a cockeyed art form that demands appreciation.
At first glance, the models on the Miu Miu runway were lovely ladies in vaguely Sixties shapes: tailored jackets with small, rounded shoulders and straight, knee-length skirts in polite pink and white with a searing red to throw it off kilter. The lineup progressed in a rebellious DIY direction, as if the girls had rummaged thrift shop bins for retro finds, cutting up ruffled tuxedo shirts into crop tops and plunging halters to wear with pencil skirts and oversize jackets in upholstery-on-acid fabrics that looked chintzy on purpose.
The fabrics were actually fantastic: woolly, blown-up plaids in camel, navy and pink; wallpaper florals that clashed with bright, jarring ruffles; a gentle floral that harkened back to a famous Prada rosebud pattern of yore. The dissonant pairings of color and pattern were deliberate, connected by gorgeous, luxurious leather goods, such as thick pebbled coats worn with the sleeves scrunched up, pumps with exaggerated bows, and tromp l’oeil boots that looked like pumps and socks together.
Prada described her spring muse as “apparently very sweet but in the end, deep down, very nasty.” Waters’ film closes with Davenport in the electric chair.