Miuccia Prada has trained the fashion world to expectindeed, to cravethe unexpected from her shows. Even those audience members who came dressed head to toe in her winter sex collection were there to see which sharp new turn she would take next. They were not to be disappointed. The designer let her fall Helmut Newton-esque fantasy evaporate in favor of something much cleaner, rearranging all her hallmarksa love of couture fabrics, an obsession with the 60s, and the ability to appropriate ethnic touches and play with modernist cutsas never before.
She opened with bright, singing color: a neon-pink cheongsam shirt with an orange-sorbet short skirt, both in luxurious duchesse satin. And by accessorizing the look with sporty goggles, thrust on top of the head, and flat silver sandals, she steered well clear of any literal vintage reference. The same mind-set could be seen at work in a sequence of white T-shirt pieces decorated with patches of plastic beading, and in a pair of Bermudas cut from shiny couture-like brocade and worn with a racer-back tank. Prada reinvented jewelry, too, tying on flat leather breast pieces encrusted with plastic beads or fusing them into the necklines of bra-top jersey dresses.
The best measure of the collection’s success was that nothing was complicated, despite the complex merging of sport, color, luxury and 60s elements. Many designers have been grasping at these disparate themes for spring, but few have been able to filter them into anything as appealingly wearable as Prada’s short satin trenches and flippy, white elastic-waist dresses.