Monday, January 16, 2012

BEAUTY: Clothing--Prada

Miuccia Prada is somewhat of an enigma. A Poli Sci graduate and mime performer (!), she embodies the spirit of an art school student by infusing her clothing with sly, sometimes obtuse references to other time periods or concepts. On the surface, it appears she helms a luxury brand but studied carefully, one can see that she masterminds one of the strangest performance art experiments in history! Somehow she manages to make her oddest ideas still wearable and sellable.

For her Milano Moda Uomo F-W '12-'13 collection, the invitation read: "Prada Presents: Il Palazzo. A Palace of Role Play." But Mrs. Prada reported that the spirit of the collection is a "parody of male power." Indeed, the cut of the clothing seemed to echo a time when men were powerful diplomats, generals, or world figures worthy of awe. If I had to place the pieces in an historical context, I would opt for a kind of dandy-ish fin de siecle / Edwardian mode. But as Tim Blanks of reports, "...this wasn't simple sartorial historicism. Remember, this was a parody of power. So nothing was as it seemed. Formal clothes were actually cut from denim; what appeared from afar as wool barathea or mohair was really cotton. Look closely at the ornate, baroque patterning on shirts and you'd see rows of American football helmets or feathered Native American headdresses. Tailored topcoats woven in jacquard looked more like silk bathrobes. And the formal white-tie neckgear was a mock turtle on a tee."

I appreciate Prada's use of unconventional models here, including men of a certain age who are often neglected in mainstream fashion (the first photo below is of Michel de Windt, one of the first male supermodels, now a photographer). But most surprising was the use of film stars at the end of the show... scroll down to see who walked the runway!

Adrian Brody

Emile Hirsch

Gary Oldman

Jamie Bell

Tim Roth

Willem Dafoe

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