The hardest working sample of all time?
Fashion stereotypes teach us that in order to ‘make it’ one must be persistant and dogged, with fledgling creatives spreading themselves over as many projects as possible, regardless of remuneration, rest, and relaxation. Or, in the case of that micro miniskirt and crop top from Miu Miu’s SS22 collection, a dry clean.
That sample, which seems to have become increasingly threadbare with every editorial and front cover cameo, is one of the industry’s hardest working success stories. From Nicole Kidman to Bimini Bon Boulash and Paloma Elsesser, to Lara Stone and Hunter Schafer, Miuccia Prada’s gorgeous, skanky little two piece has been passed around like a blunt, Pete Davidson, Dua Lipa’s bodysuits, TikTok’s Vivienne Westwood necklace, and Jennifer Lopez’s jungle dress.
Just as one pandemic peters out (COVID is officially over on April 1 according to the UK government) another emerges. The internet first became aware of the look’s viral potential when a member of the Peter Do team DIY-d his own version for Halloween, but now it’s truly everywhere – although technically speaking, there are actually two Miu Miu sets in rotation.
There’s the belted look worn by Kidman on the cover of Vanity Fair, standing at the gates of what crypto nerds think the metaverse looks like, and then there’s the slashed cable-knit iteration worn by Yugo Takano for Dazed Korea, looking like the head girl of Euphoria high. Other honourable mentions go to Zendaya, who looked like an extra in Space Babes from Outer Space, and Saweetie, who was photographed while lodged in a colon.
So widespread is its reach, it was only a matter of time that an Instagram account should be instated in the outfit’s honour, compounding the time-worn tradition of documenting ubiquitous fashions à la the Zara dress of 2019. Not to mention Fashion Nova shamelessly hawking a knock off, even if that happens to look more costume than couture.
A proliferation of these berserk images prompt the question: Why? After all, Miu Miu’s SS22 collection proffered a whole buffet of stunning fashion, from jewel-encrusted, sherbet-hued silk dresses, to low-slung, leather-pleated skirts that huffed and puffed with desire. Fashion can be a funny little industry sometimes, so perhaps it’s best not to dig for meaning in the popularity of these sets, which are so impractical and slutty that even Miuccia Prada refuses to give them a second thought.
“The creative process in Miu Miu is completely different from that of Prada,” she told System magazine in 2014. “Miu Miu is not as complicated as Prada. Rather than being young, Miu Miu is immediate. Prada is very sophisticated and considered; Miu Miu is much more naïve. The solution, when I am working on Miu Miu, has to come immediately, instinctively, spontaneously, with whatever is available at the moment. If I think three times, I stop.”
That sense of urgency can be read on SS22’s rebellious hemlines, which look as though they have been hacked off in a last-minute rush backstage. In fashion circles, the so-called “vibe shift” arrived on that runway back in October, as it flickered with fun, accessibility, and scandal.
It would be easy to connect these body-baring looks with some vague notion of female empowerment, when in reality, it’s all about slouching towards nonsense and indulging in our silly little self(ies). The allure of the look chimes with a wider, bimbostastic Y2K revival, which has inflamed the internet as it frets over the return of size zero.
But to ascribe toxicity to the Miu Miu two piece only buttresses the belief that one must be “waif-like” to engage with the trend. It’s Paloma Elsesser, after all, who is leading the micro-revolution as the first curve model to wear the piece on the most recent i-D cover. As trends evolve they are appropriated into different belief systems and the discussion surrounding fashion’s relationship with bigger bodies is beginning to experience nuance. Whether stores will be stocked with sizes beyond a UK size 14, however, is yet to be seen.
But perhaps all of this rinse and repeat styling is simply because the outfit has yet to return to its rightful suitor – Jodie Marsh, an 00s glamour model long overdue her sartorial roses. One of the last great British broads, she would swagger onto a red carpet fundraiser wearing nothing more than a chunky belt strapped across her Double Ds and another slung around her bare hips, which charmed and repulsed the public in equal measure. Miu Miu’s two piece, which has just about reached saturation point via the well-oiled clothes-to-meme pipeline, chimes with that same polarity.
Though it continues to be shipped off to pretty much every publication on the planet, recent developments suggest the slinky little number’s days could be numbered. After all, a pretender to its throne came this week via Glenn Martens’ Diesel show, which offered up equally risqué belt-like leather minis for AW22.