When guests entered the Prada show space last season, they were met with a collection of offbeat teenage bedrooms. Taking inspiration from Federico Fellini’s 1980 film City of Women, the surrounding walls were emblazoned with mock movie posters, featuring towering femmes fatales in technicolour reimaginings of novel and movie titles, from Irving Shulman’s Velvet Knife to Nicholas Carr’s The Glass Cage. Poster pin-ups appeared throughout the collection, too, stretching across maroon vinyl dresses and skirts trimmed with the house-favoured marabou plumage. Today sees Prada release a unique new collection paying homage to its A/W17 poster girls, in which the favourites are reimagined and printed on a capsule of cotton T-shirts and sweatshirts.
The original A/W17 Prada poster girls come courtesy of American pulp artist Robert McGinnis. Creator of some of Hollywood’s most iconic imagery, McGinnis is the man behind countless movie posters and novel artwork; James Bond classics Live and Let Die and Diamonds Are Forever sit amongst his portfolio, as does a depiction of a 60s sci-fi swimsuit-clad siren Barbarella and the instantly recognisable poster for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. For the Prada posters that decorated the set, McGinnis created a new series of fantasy women and paired them with text that called out, albeit subtly, to the world of Prada, referencing retro-sounding novels about thought-stirring subjects from computer takeovers and murderous spy thrillers to controversial (for the time) lesbian encounters.
Mrs Prada’s case for a woman’s capacity to be simultaneously intelligent and seductive draws a welcome line under history’s onging debate about the feminist power of the pin-up. As one poster in the show space read: “We have decided to look at the role women have had in the shaping of modern society”. On first glance, McGinnis’ brazenly illustrated females are almost overtly sexy, but through Mrs Prada’s eyes, these femmes fatales can be seen in a new light entirely: as powerful women who both wield guns and demolish their opponents in intellectual debates – and all in a leather bikini. That’s exactly the kind of poster girl that’s worth wearing on your T-shirt.
Prada Poster Girl is available in-store and online from today.