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Prada: Big Buttons, Cool Collars and Sexy Sequins
February 24th, 2011 @ 5:16 PM - Milan
Femininity, subverted, subtly reinvented and seen anew with an unusually brilliant perspective was the core of the latest, and particularly distinguished, collection from Prada for fall 2011.
Presented after an hour's delay on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 24, in Prada's headquarters in central Milan, the collection was easily the most modern of any seen so far at the midway point of the four week season that also encompasses fashion's three other great capitals - New York, London and Paris.
Miuccia Prada may well have been juggling many of her preferred elements - checks, fake and real fur, snakeskin, uniforms, haute chic and trashy glamour - but even by her own exalted standards, this was a particularly beautiful collection.
She opened with a quintet of coat dress looks that set the agenda for next fall - big concave buttons, curvy shoulders, sleek wool finishes and a set of clutch handbags with wide straps that the models held almost like baseball mitts. Then segued into the check combinations, with'30s curvy coats all anchored by really racy boots. A combo of snakeskin, glittering Lurex and baroque furniture leg heels - again sure to be the boot of fall 2011.
"I wanted to play with the rules of femininity, its codes and destroy them to make something new," Prada said after the show, mentioning that she was looking forward to International Women's day on March 6 in Paris.
Cunningly she played around with the quirky plaid where the very size of the criss-cross patterns gave the material a unique and curious 3D effect. Throughout, Prada varied her silhouette from strict and slim to curvy with huge courtly lapels. Most models wore hairy skullcaps; all marched in mid-calf boots. Every outfit was startling new - spruce, slick and self-confident.
At one point there was an audible intake of air from the massed ranks of the audience when the first of seven hyper concentrated sequined dresses appeared. Made in the colors of hard candy - bronzed orange, amber, icy blue and lemon - and frequently topped by fox or mink stoles, they all looked sensational.
Arguably the most copied designer in the world, Prada admitted to a last minute crisis when she discovered that some of her ideas had already appeared on a competitor's runway in Milan. So, being the fearless originator she is, Prada retooled her original lineup to meet her own exacting standards, forcing the delay of the show.
"Who knows how they managed to get our ideas. But with digital cameras today anything is possible," sighed Prada, refusing repeated demands to name the house that had copied her.
Ultimately, this was a highly fashionable statement about feminism, since these are clothes that liberate women precisely because of their distinction, and their beauty, making no concession to any tawdry attempt to please men's demands that women be cheap and sexy.