"To make Miu Miu more special and important" was Miuccia Prada's post-show explanation for taking her diffusion collection to Paris. And special the small Sunday afternoon presentation at the famous Left Bank restaurant Laperouse was. There were mismatched chairs arrayed against the carved wood walls of its many intimate salons, chocolates and coffee on offer, and ashtrays at the ready. The clothes, too, were elevated, thanks to what the designer described as couture touches: Silk was photo-printed with still lifes that resembled those on the eatery's walls, brocade was hand-painted with fleur-de-lis motifs, and the arms of techno-fabric shrunken jackets came in fox.
The Miu Miu girl, Prada said, is the same as her big sister, only a little more angelic. There was a youthful innocence to the models' white eyelashes, their schoolgirl uniforms, and their impossibly brief lampshade skirts. But provocation was at play as well, evident in the fine downy knits (worn alone or under bustier dresses or spilling off shoulders), in the matte red lipstick, and in the Mia Farrow lullaby from Rosemary's Baby that piped through the speakers. The "strength" the designer cited in describing her signature line was less obvious here, but it could be located in military-inspired jackets, some with subtle peplums, and chunky oxford shoes studded with rivets and spikes. Another way the collections related was in Miu Miu's newly luxe, expensive-looking fabrics. Prices will increase, which won't please everyone, but they'll go a long way toward reinforcing Prada's message about the brand's importance.