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Prada’s Astronaut's Wives

Godfrey Deeny
February 26th, 2010 @ 00:20 AM - Milan

It says a great deal about designers current search for optimism when one of the bellwether fashion brands on the planet, Prada, finds inspiration in the early innocence of the Baby Boomer era in American life.

That was one of the clear messages from the brilliantly staged and artfully constructed fall 2010 collection from the Prada, staged Thursday, Feb. 25, in Milan, the first major day of shows in the Italian women’s ready-to-wear season.

An abiding image throughout was the pulled-back bouffant hairdos that recalled the sort of style worn by astronaut’s wives in “The Right Stuff,” the celebrated film chronicling the first attempts to put men in space by NASA in the ‘60s.

The silhouette was angular with skirts cut at a 30-degree angle at the hip, while the broken checks recalled photos of happy wives on cruises in the Caribbean or Mediterranean in an era before the hippie revolution.

“I was taking cuts and ideas of the ‘50s and ‘60s and playing with them,” explained Miuccia Prada backstage.

The designer also dreamed up a whole new type of sock, a knitted knee sock with a ribbon in grosgrain or chiffon sewn down the shin, which is sure to spark a hot new trend.

“Naked legs are passé,” pronounced Prada, as she sipped a whiskey sour, with a cherry on top, after the show.

Adding to the remixed-retro mood, the soundtrack by ace DJ Frederic Sanchez was a mélange of ‘60s electronic jazz, climaxed by trumpeter Miles Davis’ soaring solos from “Bitches Brew.” And no brand in Milan stages its shows better than Prada, which revamped its show warehouse into twisting catwalk, featuring two large “bleacher” sections. And, in case, you weren’t sure about what season you were watching, huge black letters against the concrete wall, read “Prada Fall Winter 2010.”

Not everything was revamped modernism; the designer also sent out a quintet of haute chunky Irish-style Aran knit looks.

But the overriding image were a series of remarkable chiffon tops, pinioned onto the chest of many looks, whether knits, or prints of just black silk dress. A tricky wear, but a brilliant look.

“I hate banality and want the end of it in fashion,” smiled Prada.

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