Softly polished models cut figures of exaggerated perfection at the Prada A/W15 show. They wore painfully pretty pastels in silhouettes cut for debutantes, reminiscent of a series of Stepford women. Their skin was blended into flawless uniformity through the brushwork of make-up artist Pat McGrath, resulting in doll-like complexions. A kind of dreamy airbrushing had blurred features into homogeneity, as if everyone had been run through an iPhone’s Facetune filter and come out as a retouched version of themselves.
Mrs. Prada was conjuring a powdered idea of desirable artifice rather than offering the supposed reality that has been brought to so many runways over recent seasons. Skin has gotten dewier for so many brand presentations (Lucia Pierone's glossy lids and glowing complexions at Jonathan Saunders A/W15), eye make-up smudgier (Terry Barber's "nightbus make-up" at Marques'Almeida) in an offering of dishevelled relatability. For A/W15, Prada went to the other extreme by offering the immaculate impossibility of being a perfect woman, during a time that we are told we can lean in and have it all.
The maze-like set design of interconnected rooms was painted in the same saccharine palette as the collection and separated by corridors made up of a metal grid. This, and the clinical lighting, were suggestions of a surgeon's operating theatre; the models' walks arduous exercises in presenting femininity. Their hair was pulled in high, taut ponytails and looped in a modern interpretation of a 1950s bouffant – an almost exact replication of the Pre-Fall style with the addition of ornamental hair clips.
What was the intention behind the repetition of this hairstyle? In a four-season cycle of fashion, repetition has started to have a place: to allow ideas to settle and be absorbed by the editor and the consumer. No-one can think, let alone dress at the kind of pace that's been set and a slowing down is a welcome relief.
An illusory presentation of womanhood resulted from the show, rather than one purporting to offer achievable aspiration. It was a pristine ideal of femininity that inspires conversation around not only what fashion promises to bring to our clothing rails, but also what 2015 expects of the second sex.