Saturday, March 07, 2009

Wade Through It.

I think the reason that my interest in the endless parade of catwalk shows spanning the globe faded early this season is because in the face of the world-at-large's too little, it's just too much. Not only is the endless coverage too much information period, but the obvious '80's re-hash that is coming again and again down the runways is just too much to look at. Huge shoulders, big hair, shine, tight, bigger, bigger, more, more. It all makes my head want to explode, and the state of current affairs (more and more layoffs, food lines, homeless moving into my A train) is enough mind/anxiety spark and ignition to keep the explosions coming without being reminded that there is more stuff being made than anyone will buy or need for more money than anyone will have. It makes me nervous. It makes me a little nauseated, kind of like when I go to Costco in the 'burbs and everyone and everything is huge. Too much stuff. Overload. Like a levee-broken-overflowing-flooded-river of too much. Enter Miuccia Prada and her waders to get you through to the other side.
Miuccia is the smart girl's guide to fashion. She puts ideas into her clothes and they barely matter unless you want them to, and then they matter more than you realize at the time. Her last season's collection, with its rumpled, post-tryst aesthetic, was a romantic ode to passionate sex in a hurry. This season's wares are a lot more put together. Earth comes to town amongst the intergalactic shows that have been catwalking all around Miuccia this season. Her colors are earthy: understated mud/olive/turmeric/rusted ruby/horse brown. I can almost smell their mineral makeup. The fabrics are stiff and strong, but touchable: felted wool, felt, wool, leather, or soft--like fur, velvet, and knits. Not pleather, not spandex, not lame. The shapes of things make sense for a woman's body. There are great curving collars finally drawn in at the waist (flattering), deep plunges at the neckline (feminine), and knee length hem lines (flirty). Prada's mature sexuality is always a high point, never cheap, never remotely tramped-up, it sneaks in through practical elements. Bright slashes of red peek from behind gray flannel dresses, the same scarlet becomes a smart coatdress, the deep plushness of the velvet and fur pieces beg to be pet. Prada makes you want to look there, she makes you want to touch. The feminine sparkle of the evening clothes, smartly embellished leather and gray felt, brilliantly adds a little ethereal to the solidness of the collection.

Then there are those waders. Mmmmm. Higher than thigh high leather fisherman's gear. A protective element. Masculine, but so alluring. Some are less high, but comfortably layered over thick socks and held up by straps. A clear imperative for the Prada woman to lift herself up by her bootstraps. Something about them is so visually appealing. I love when an article of clothing has the potential to separate the girls from the women. It will take something to pull those things up and also pull them off. Prada is smart fashion. It is sexy but meaningful, well only if you want to look for meaning. Otherwise, it's just gorgeous. End of story.

Photos from The New York Times and Click images for more information.

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