It would be absurd to try to apply an intellectual overlay to Miu Miu—Miuccia Prada doesn’t. She’s always said that designing her second collection was completely spontaneous, a question of doing the first thing she thinks of after agonizing over her Prada show. This season, the thing that popped into her mind was a buzzy, trashy, slutty form of late fifties, early sixties dressing. Pencil skirts and frilled net cropped blouses over coats.
Stilettos with bows on the toes. Super-mean, upswept, sliced-across-the-top sunglasses. The fact that this collection was shown in a church—or rather a set Prada had built, at untold expense, to resemble gothic arches, with the runway as aisles—was a blatant red herring. Come off it, Miuccia. This is a girl who’s gone to the bad, and is enjoying every single moment of it.
This, of course, is a piece of classic teenage imagery that goes back to the very invention of teenage. If these Miu Miu girls had boyfriends on their arms (if only: that would be real runway fun), their boyfriends would be strutting along trying to look like Elvis or Little Richard. These days, fashion sometimes gets too complicated. Why not just offer a girl an arsenal of ruffly blouses, sexy plaid pencil skirts, and high-waisted Marilyn Monroe cropped pants in which to go out, dance, and have a good time?
Yet underneath this, perhaps there’s another motive to be detected. This look—somewhere out of the fifties, mildly subverted and perverted—is heartland brand Prada. As she restamps her claim on this straightforward, easy-to-understand version of that era, it’s a counterbalance to the straightforward, easy-to-understand version of the seventies Hedi Slimane is putting out at Saint Laurent. Let the decade-battle commence.