Miuccia Prada is clever. She offers up the unexpected, she makes her audience think, and she creates clothes women desire. Her A/W13 Miu Miu collection is a perfect case in point.
There were a lot of ideas at work. Polka dot neckties; exaggerated silhouettes with cinched waists; stripy stockings; Edwardian booties; elongated polo necks; belted parkas; oversized buttons; neck-to-knee zippers. While there were plenty of historical nods, the lady felt modern. It was fun, it was frivolous, it was French.
Take the polka dot. A pattern that brings to mind Minnie Mouse, flamenco dancers, 50s prom dresses, Marilyn Monroe, the work of Yayoi Kusama. The term can be traced back to 1854, when it was first used in literary magazine The Yale. The pattern shares its name with the dance form, making one suspect there is a connection linking the pattern to the dance. However, the name was likely settled upon merely because of the dance's popularity at the time the pattern became fashionable, just as many other products and fashions of the era also adopted the polka name. In the Miu Miu collection, Mrs. Prada dressed each of her ladies in polka dot neckties, and later, long dotty skirts and rain macs. It's a clever Pradaism – creating a key motif for a collection (bananas, cars et al).
"The stripy stockings have different associations, from prostitute to schoolgirl"
Next up, the stripy stockings. "They have different associations," said Prada backstage. "From prostitute to schoolgirl," she laughed. They came in a variety of shades – black, purple, red – and worn with the calf-skimming skirts and ankle boots, only a small amount of stocking was on display. Towards the end of the collection, Prada introduced stripy long skirts in contrasting colours which suggested that Prada had traditional prostitute attire rather than school girls in mind.
There were plenty of clever coat propositions. Every kind of coat one would need during the autumn and winter months – a light mac for rain showers, a smart jacket for the evening and a belted fur coat for the snow. The most interesting coat moment came mid-collection when Prada demonstrated her work with the traditional bomber jacket, a garment originally created for pilots in the first world war. The jacket, often created in black or khaki with a zipper and orange lining, became popular in the 80s with skinheads and gained a wider fashion following in the 90s (at around the same time the iconic Nylon Prada backpack was released). For her A/W13 Miu Miu collection, she deconstructed (in a polished, Prada way) the design, turning it inside out, removing its sleeves, elongating the design, transforming it into a skirt. The best offering – an orange, off-the-shoulder belted bomber. Chic.
Laura Bradley is the Commissioning Editor of AnOther and published her first series of Fashion Equations in May 2008. Tom Baxter is an illustrator currently living and working in London.