Dreaming of a Party. Miu Miu Pre-Fall 2020

While pre-collections might soon become outdated thanks to Gucci’s Alessandro Michele smart move, a few look-book line-ups (photographed in pre-corona times) got recently dropped as the new season is slowly popping in stores (as if anybody actually bought anything from the spring-summer offerings…). Miu Miu‘s pre-fall 2020 foreshadows the main collection’s thread, which was about glamour and the joy of dressing up, from a young woman’s point of view. The visuals by Douglas Irvine suggests the mix of feelings a person might have before any party or wedding reception. Excitement. Anxiety. “Get the party started“. “Not going“. “Ok, fine, I’m coming!” It’s a heavy throwback to late 1960s and early 1970s, and quite possibly Miuccia Prada reflected on her own style navigation from that time. Some of the dresses – especially the prairie baby doll fits and the maxi ones with vintage-y ruffles – made you think of Batsheva and The Vampire’s Wife signature specialties. Miu Miu has them in arty patchwork pattern prints, and it seems that the label didn’t think of using pre-existing fabric leftovers for the collection. And that’s a pity, as it would really make sense in the current sustainability conversation the industry is having. The rest of the collection was quintessentially Miu Miu: so-odd-it’s-good colour clashes, knitted tights, cute embroideries and embellishments, fun faux-fur stoles. Of course, back in 2019 when that collection was being finalised, nobody had a clue that 2020 would be that crap. Yet still, I’ve got to ask this: where will she wear those dresses? Thanks god we’ve got Zoom parties…

Collage by Edward Kanarecki, look-books photos by Douglas Irvine for Miu Miu.

Lets Talk About Prada SS05!

I’m always obsessed with a Prada collection. Sometimes, I’m completely absorbed in her take on bourgeoisie and conservative dressing. Another time, I drift away in her more surreal styles. But lately, Miuccia Prada‘s spring-summer 2005 keeps popping over and over again in my mind. It’s like a scent of summer holidays, which are the perfect balance of heavenly relax and active experience of discovering. Back in the day, Miuccia acknowledged that this collection was a leap from her more demanding line-ups. “A vague idea of birds; birds of vanity, like peacocks, parrots, and swans,” was a starting point in her restless search for change, she explained. “I also wanted to move toward something more young and sporty, tall and narrow.” To bring the audience into her new reality, Prada stripped her familiar clean, boxed-in stage set down to the bare industrial walls, then projected Rem Koolhaas’ mind-scrambling collage of live news images onto them. It was a lot to take in before the show even started – but that, one suspects, was exactly Prada’s intention with the clothes, as well. There was so much going on. A rhapsody of colour, an excess of textures. But also, a different silhouette (short hemlines, worn mostly with flat sandals), a return to one of her favorite palettes (brown-ochre-rust), and as always, lots of artful eccentricity, like peacock feathers (I saw this dress at Didier Ludot vintage store in Paris and its magnificent) and knitted flowerpot hats. There was also a Jamaican dance hall vibe, with reggae on the sound system, Rasta stripes in the knitwear, and Caribbean crochet in the raffia hats and cardigan coats. And, oh, please note how relevant it is! That’s the power of Prada.

P.s. Happy Birthday, Miuccia!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Toying With Elegance. Miu Miu AW20

Miu Miu‘s autumn-winter 2020 collection didn’t entirely click for me. Maybe it was the uncomfortable looking, 1940s-inspred hair. Or the suffocating retro feeling that feels completely cut from reality. Or it’s the current, global circumstances that just don’t really match the collection’s early 20th century party girl mood. “Toying With Elegance” was the title of the line-up, an allusion to the childlike joy that comes with getting dressed to the nines. Miuccia Prada had the show opened with a charming cameo: Storm Reid, the 16-year-old actor of Euphoria fame, who wore a persimmon crushed-satin dress and tweed overcoat. The rest of the collection rotated around the idea of matching a festive dress with a big coat. Extra-long proportions lent a sense of irreverence to the sweet empire-line dresses in saccharine shades that were replete with bows and crystal embellishments. The most convincing pieces were the leg-baring little black dresses that had frothy taffeta sleeves and colorful nipped waistbands – they made you think of Miu Miu’s archival “girl”. Especially spring-summer 2008, which was all about that easy, flirty look. The rest was kind of forced.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The Contrasts. Prada AW20

This season, Prada was about contrasts, which actually create an equilibrum. “We can be strong and feminine at the same time… women carry the weight now.Miuccia Prada was insistent: delicacy and frivolity are not antithetical to power. Finally somebody said that out loud, in the language of fashion. Beads, silks, fringes, the “clichés of femininity,” as she described them, accompanied pieces traditionally considered masculine. A boxy belted jacket was paired with a fringed skirt, while classic bib-front shirts were glammed up with skeins of crystals suspended from the shoulders. Basketball jerseys got a similar treatment, elongated to the knee and then accessorized with ropes of beads and sneaker-boot hybrids. For Prada-ists, this collection is a great retrospective of some of Miuccia’s big hits – especially autumn-winter 2017, autumn-winter 2015, spring-summer 2014 and autumn-winter 2009 – which were patchworked into something new. Prada’s vocabulary is so wide and distinct that there’s no wonder why she is bringing some ideas back to her work.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Anti-Heroic Masculinity. Prada AW20

Let me say what’s the point of this show,Miuccia Prada started backstage of her Prada autumn-winter 2020 men’s show: “That in the big – not ‘confusion’- but the complication of the current time between the world going wrong or going better, the discussion on sexes, on surviving or not… I thought to give an indication that the only thing that makes me calm and optimistic is to give value to work… to give value to things that matter in your life and your work. And so the creativity is mixed with technicalities, which is a little bit similar to the Secessionist period (boldly colored graphics shared  with the fabric patterns associated with Koloman Moser and other artists of the Vienna Secession) when ideas, creativity, and actual work had to be all together.” And what about the rather anti-heroic, equestrian statue, was this also about the contemporary heroism? “Not heroic, but heroes… I want to give a hope that in this casino (‘chaotic world’) if you do well your job, paired with intelligence, and with culture, then this already is something… It’s to give respect to work, to effort, to fatigue, and to what is difficult.” So here’s some forever-intelligent Prada-ism to delight in. On the set that closely resembled one of Giorgio de Chirico’s metaphysical paintings, Miuccia presented earnest, simple, smart and easy-in-approach clothes that are both classic and modern. Three-piece suits or mismatched tailored separates, portfolios thrust between arm and hip. Rural worker in mid-calf boots and oversized corduroy jacket. Then a more urban kind of Prada man whose clothes have technical touches and piped sport raised graphics on pocket flaps. Scientist-like rubberized coats matched with baggy pants tucked into beaten leather galvanized sole boots (plus rectangular lensed shades). Different characters, different personalities. Yet not so dramatically different clothes.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Prada Delights in Milan

When in Milan, Prada, the word, the universe, takes a whole another dimension. It’s not just Miuccia Prada’s sophisticated, multi-faceted fashion, but also art. And sweets. Here you can choose between various Prada delights. Maybe the embellished red heels available at the label’s oldest flagship in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II? Or the delicious donuts filled with vanilla cream… or the pastel-pink marzipan cake from the brand-owned Marchesi 1824 patisserie on Via Monte Napoleone? Hard to resist any of that.

Prada / Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II 63-65

Marchesi 1824 / Via Monte Napoleon 9

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

The 2010s: Prada, Of Course!

PRADA

Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.

Prada, Prada, Prada!

Miuccia Prada is certainly one of the most influential fashion designers of our time. Her fashion isn’t just fashion: it’s an on-going dialogue between art, society, culture, and at times even politics. Her Prada woman and man jump from being decadently eccentric to modernly elegant; they can be vagabond, they can be sophisticated, they can be bold in their neon nylons and printed banana shirts (so Jeff Goldblum!). In her 2010s collections, Prada turned her talent to the reivention of a more conventional expression of beauty, striving to modernize embellishment, taking fabrication and surface detail to unprecedented heights, fusing plastic with precious silks, showing cable knit alongside cable knit prints and cable knit embroideries, imagining and then realizing her own spectacular brocades offset by humble cottons borrowed from menswear. Nearly each collection Prada presented in this decade is iconic – and can be recalled by coining separate themes or words (Madame Frankenstein, Japan, pin-up girl, film noir, Margot Tenenbaum, sailors, pastels, stripes, The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant…the list goes on!). Noting other successes of Prada in the 2010s – like Fondazione Prada in Milan, re-opening the Linea Rossa line, the non-stop growth of Miu Miu’s allure – I really can’t wait to see how Miuccia shapes her 2020s…

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Chic Remaking and Altering. Miu Miu SS20

After taking a second look, I really liked Miu Miu‘s spring-summer 2020 collection. Miuccia Prada has always said that her impulses for the label are much more spontaneous than at Prada. This was the main idea behind the line-up. “Something raw, simple, naive, not a big deal” was how the designer herself summed up the collection. The idea of altering, remaking, and sex-ifying a wardrobe comes through in off-the-shoulder knitwear and eclectic details. The runways was graced by girls who seemed to have altered the buttons on their coats; made new summer dresses by patching the top of a satin cocktail dress to a printed curtain; decided to add a flounce to a skirt or a shoulder strap with a bit of spare fabric; painted the flowers on their leather coats themselves. The vintage-y and D.I.Y. style is big this season, and Miuccia nails it effortlessly.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Calm Elegance. Prada SS20

No prints. No logos. Calm elegance. That’s the Prada I truly love. It’s been a while since Miuccia Prada did a collection that wasn’t focused on a motif, a fabric or a theme. Cotton tiered dresses worn with espadrilles, smooth leather suits, vintage-looking details (like 30s-inspired feather embroideries and sea-shell necklaces), soft knitted polos, a classic, black dress that isn’t too sheer or too goth… Every look involved a mix of textures (macramé, straw, velvet, calf, patent, rope, paillettes and others) and context (the beach, the office, a party, a weekend escape – you name it). Miuccia’s starting point for this collection was that “the person should be more important than the clothes,” and further, that “personal style is more important than clothes.” She was also hoping to make a point about simplicity, non-disposability, and “doing less.” After all, sustainability is also about investing in pieces you will wear for years. This is a delightful start of Milan fashion week.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.