Prada: Fall 2014 (Act Two)

by Alex R. Travers

_ON_0119.450x675“She is Lola,” mused Miuccia Prada. If so, that categorized her girl as dark, secretive, sensual…but wait a minute. Didn’t Barbara Sukowa, who performed at today’s show, also play Lola in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1981 film Lola? Yes, and Lola was one of Mrs. Prada’s obsessions this season.

Today’s Prada Fall 2014 women’s wear outing was titled “Act Two.” If you missed it, “Act One” was the designer’s men’s wear show, which took place last month. Both acts were scored and styled similarly and were held at the Fondazione Prada. That space, in the designer’s words, has presented some of the most profound and thought-provoking art projects of our times. Which meant that her theatrics today were poised to do the same.

Of course, the show asked questions but it didn’t really answer them (typical Prada). Her models, for instance, were great at avoiding body and facial language. So if you wanted answers to some of those “thought-provoking” questions, it was best to look to the set, the music, the styling, the fit of the clothes…anything that revealed a clue. Mrs. Prada is known for being cryptic. You had to dig. Well, you didn’t have to. You could have simply observed and enjoyed, too.

But no matter what you did—over analyze or ogle—you watched something beautiful. Perhaps when you heard Sukowa sing the Germanic tunes of Kurt Weill, you thought of the director Margarethe von Trotta, which lead you back to Prada’s most recent spring collection about feminism. A stretch, probably, but you never know. What you did see, obviously, was that there were men on the runway—slow-moving mysterious men that looked as if they were circling the block waiting for a rendezvous. Her women, on the other hand, moved quickly and purposefully. Their silhouettes were more streamlined than languid. But sheerness exposed them. And that transparency revealed their secrets: Mariacarla Boscono’s sweater, for example, was deconstructed and had a tattered, gauzy fabric sewn in to replace the front of the garment. The designer then used orange shearling on the edges to make it seem as if the sweater was destroyed by fire. Even if it wasn’t pretty, per se, it was wildly clever.

Ultimately, there was a lot to love: smart coats, sexy slips, chain bags, shoes. Oh, the shoes? Rubber wedges, block heels, boots, and T-straps, some in a sanguine red, others in yellow, white, gray…you name it. Her show was rich with confidence, in both its clothing and its story line.

So, how did “Act Two” end? Or did it end? And will there be an “Act Three?” Maybe there are no answers. Prada, after all, loves to reshape the past and subvert history with her own fantasies. But what she did to today was something special: She forced us to enter the lives of her men and women with our own imaginations.