The Fall 2010 collection is a real feast. From Filet Mignon to Fish sticks and every conceivable delectable in betwixt. Prada, or Pradders as many ladies along Long Island's Miracle Mile know and love it, is more than just clothes, it's a state of mind. Every season it moves more in this cerebral direction with clothes that act as visual and tactile triggers taking you to another place, another sensibility, but one that's always informed by the here and now. Shapes and the texture of the fabric along with patterns, prints, colors and accessories did that, again, in a very subversive and effective way.
Just about every single piece was a construction. All the fabrics, whether printed, covered with hand painted plaids in murky mustard, indigo, egg plant or fatigue green, solid plain black or bonded vinyl had an architectural stiffness. This consistent use of stiff fabrics set a tone of archness that was titillating. Little or no flesh was shown. All erotic and sensual effects were achieved by the cut and details of the work. A-line and trapeze shapes all move away from the body, nothing clung to it except for its own essence. Perhaps, it was the sway of the clothes created as models walked through a seeming labyrinth of passages creating a tension and heat. This kind of multi patterned course that Designers and choreographers have created are effective in the tension they create. They not only make the presentation more interactive but the way the models intersect and crisscross one another in multiple points keeps your eye always on the move. It does something else I especially like. One becomes hypnotized with a steady stream of visual and sensory information that drives the message home. In this case the message was exciting, in others it can produce anxiety and an overwhelming urge to run screaming from the room.
There were prim coats, all buttoned up and jackets over skirts, both cut in trapeze shapes that swung away from the body as the models moved throughout this underground world. Moody repetitive jazz drifted along with them creating a smoky, languid atmosphere. I immediately thought that this type of presentation could never happen here. It's uniquely Prada, it's down right un-American. It made my mouth water and my stomach churn. I don't say this because it was so "beautiful" but because it took me to another place. It made me remember things and dream of others. It did what I think fashion is able to do in the most capable of hands. It takes you THERE.
Miuccia Prada pulled out a device from before that I loved: hand painted plaids. They were dark, muddy and so KEWL. Coats, whether in tan vinyl or in thick heavy wool were cut like the coats of Givenchy in the 60's. All shape with no grab. Beautiful collars framed the faces. Busts of dresses, jackets and coats were constructed with darted bodices that were structured or in one or two cases silken and very suggestive.I say this because the model's breasts were either set in place like pointed bra cups of the 50's and 60's or were cupped without support allowing them to both hang and swing in a pendulous way. Ruffles were attached to the bust lines of some totally covered dresses and others that had a cut-out detail at the torso, like a peek-a-boo sliver of skin. They reminded me of the tops of bikinis from Frankie Avalon beach party movies.The skirts were predominately swinging a-line shapes or full dindl shapes which fell below the knee with fitted bodices that again felt very Audrey, but Audrey in a slightly naughty mood. Several looks were made of bonded vinyl looking like patent leather. This was not something I've loved in the past, but they worked here. All of this was paired with woolly tights and patent leather pointed toe high heels or square toed stacked heel shoes. This made me think of the girls in my high school teetering out in their first grown up shoes but with the security of knee socks instead of hose. It was innocence and a deep knowing that filled that underground hot house.
The few dresses and coats that said "Evening" were in black with intricate, over sized jet bead embroideries. They were all perfect, rich and generous, as long as you looked straight at them. The moment they passed there was nothing on the back. Impression, suggestion and then your imagination must complete the thought. That was a treat. I was struck by the audience and its mix of attentiveness and disregard. The camera (I saw a video of the show) constantly landed on Franca Sozzani of Italian Vogue. Every model that walked past her did so with not so much as a glance from the Editor in Chief of Italian Vogue. Maybe she'd seen the collection ahead of time, but it was disconcerting. Conde Nast needs to wake up to its staff. They are a dodgy bunch.
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