This was Miuccia Prada’s “Synthetic Fantasia”. Inside a series of macaron-shaded pistachio green and powder pink rooms connected with industrial steel grills, Miuccia explored themes that are second nature to her. What are our ideals of beauty? Are they real? What are the fine lines between fantasy and reality? What lies beneath a saccharine surface? These 50s-60s debutantes in all shades of pastel certainly had something ‘off’ about them. The perfection of their crease-free luminous skin combined with the smooth sponge-like fabrications of their ensembles could have been a sugary overload (much like the pink and green Cosmopolitans served before the show). But unexpected layerings, wayward colour combinations and their to the side bulbous ponytails ensured that you’d have to think hard about Miuccia’s soft shades.
They could have been Stepford Wives in training with their glassy stares, matte faces and fabrics – which centred around a double faced jersey. Because of the material, dresses and suits stood away from the body slightly, cocooning the models like fondant icing. Decoration was overloaded and enlarged as bows and crystals looked haphazardly applied. Ostrich skins and furs in cartoonish saturated shades were similarly unreal looking. No coincidence that the “Dance of the Hours” portion of Disney’s Fantasia – featuring dancing ostriches – was intermittently played on the soundtrack. A molecular print that crept in mid-way was affirmation that these fancy femmes could have been gestated in a petri dish. As usual subtext can run wild at a Prada show. Science-led artifice has increased exponentially since Miuccia started asking questions about fakery 20 years ago with her nylon bags. This collection felt like a culminating comment on the possibilities of 21st century science and where it may lead us. Stepford Wives look increasingly set to become a reality.
What women want:
“I feel you. A deep echo in me. A strong appeal for discovery. I know you know.” These words from Mélanie De Biasio’s haunting track “I Feel You” played on loop and stayed with you. It was a siren call from the collection itself, which begged women to question why they might be drawn to surface-level prettiness. If they did decide to be trussed up head-to-toe in powder pinks, baby blues and sherbet orange, what would that say about them? Miuccia is a dab hand at subverting girliness and there’s a reason why. This cotton candy, powder room, Fantasia-hued treat of a collection was a playground for women to express their desire for ultra-girly tropes. It was also high on the hallmark Miuccia Prada-isms that form the foundation of the brand – especially with the princess-esque hair accessories, the little kitten heel strappy shoes, the bags that were prim but not too proper and the perspex brooches. In every Prada and Miu Miu collection, Miuccia reverbs but here, she harked back with more good reason. What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice. And everything nice. And what do women want? Bows, pastels and some semblance of beauty. That’s what Miuccia gave us and you can wear it or dissect it to suit your needs.
The soundtrack to Prada AW15: