Thursday, September 30, 2010

Instead of using a crystal ball, I just check out the Prada runway.

Recently, in a comment about my post on the rebirth of the kitten-heeled shoe, a reader mentioned her deep dislike for this picture:

This is from the Prada Spring 2011 collection. As you can see, it shows a heavy sock paired with a delicate shoe. Which, yeah, breaks every rule of taste or common sense. And that's totally Prada.

Miuccia Prada's design process starts with something she dislikes--say, a particular color or silhouette--which she works with until she's made it beautiful. This explains the shock of what comes down her runway. But what explains the fact that sooner or later, we see that shocking stuff being worn by normal people?

I think it's Prada's uncanny prescience. She's often way ahead of the trends. Who started making bags from ripstop nylon? Who got women to carry designer backpacks? Prada. Who started the return of Mad Men era prints and colors? Prada was showing them before the show was invented. The peep-toed lace up bootie that is everywhere this fall? Prada, Spring 2006.

Miuccia Prada has such a grasp of the zeitgeist,  she can be as much as a decade ahead of the times. For example, this outfit

came down the runway ten years ago. But it looks very current.

Nicole Kidman makes this shade of green look fabulous. 
But look at the texture, too ... it's my grandmother's porch cushions!

Prada's ugly-is-beautiful aesthetic has been giving fashion a much-needed goose since the 1980s. And so, when Prada talks, I listen. Not because I'm going to jump on board Miuccia's crazy train. I'm much too conservative for that. In fact, if someone were keeping a list called "The Last By Whom The New Is Tried," I'd be number one. (Except I'd be agitating to be moved further down, because I'd much rather be last.)

No, for me, Prada is a fashion canary in a coalmine. I might hate kitten heels, but knowing that they've walked the Prada runway gives me a year or two extra to adjust to their revival.

Even if my initial reaction to open-toed boots is absolute incredulity,  I know that Miuccia Prada has spoken, and eventually ... I might actually end up  owning a pair. Yes, I'm the Last By Whom the New is Tried. But I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Because closing your mind is the first step towards getting, looking, and feeling old.

And that's why I keep an eye on Prada.


  1. I could almost adjust to the sock/shoe combination if the model weren't walking out of the shoe. Which she's doing because no human being can walk in halter-back pumps (the kind with a strap attached to the sole rather than to the vamp of the shoe). That's an ankle sprain waiting to happen--I don't care how low the heel is.

  2. I would love that sweater/skirt combo better if the model was wearing a bra and not showing so much skeleton. Eek. I just saw a video about "pro-ana" or, anorexia as a "lifestyle choice" instead of a mental disorder, so I'm all up in the skinny girls' faces right now.

  3. Perhaps the sock/shoe combo is to protect the foot as most shoes of that style kill your feet. This way you get to wear the cute shoe but no blisters? I do agree that is a butt ugly picture though, I would have chosen a different sock to pair with that shoe. ;)

  4. WOW. I had never looked at Prada this way. I've always thought they were just a bit "odd". But don't get me wrong, I like odd.

  5. Not getting the Nicole Kidman reference. ???

  6. Hi Mary--Nicole Kidman is wearing a Prada dress. And look at the hideous shade of green and its bark cloth texture. If I saw that in a store, I'd run away screaming. But it's fabulous on her--retro-chic and ugly-is-beautiful.

  7. Uh-oh. I'm wearing that shade of green right now. It's one of my faves! Kinda liking the tweedy texture, too.


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xxx, Poppy.