A Prada show doesn't get a title, but its set does. "Menacing Paradise" was the name given the painted façades that defined the show space today: palm fronds, sunsets, an equatorial town. There was a helicopter on the walls and the thwack of copter rotors on the soundtrack. Apocalypse Now? Well, Vietnam was on Miuccia Prada's mind, as were any of the tropical paradises that have been turned into war zones in the course of recent human history. The pain and suffering involved were more than enough to make her question what she called "the cliché of the exotic—and the cliché of summer." Beautiful surroundings, beautiful weather, with the ugliness of human nature providing the menacing counterpoint. In other words, brainy business as usual at Prada, with fashion called into play as the platform for an exchange of ideas.
The tropical paradise Miuccia offered in her clothes was a dark place, its sun a lowering, lurid threat. It put you in mind of all those movies set in the tropics where everything goes badly for the characters. From Here to Eternity, for example: Hawaii in the 1940s, Pearl Harbor, Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Frank Sinatra… "War and love," Miuccia summed it up—appropriate because her collection was a kind of love story, too. That's why there were women on the catwalk, in clothes that amplified the prints and details of the menswear. (They'll be sold as part of Resort.) But posed against the artless ingenues who modeled the men's collection, Miuccia's pretty women were knowing seductresses. In case you missed that point, the soundtrack from Body Heat alternated with bursts of the Tangerine Dream track used at the end of Risky Business. In both those movies, women held the cards.
Which meant that this was one of Miuccia's more fascinating analyses of male powerlessness. That was partly because she made her men so languidly beautiful in their tropical prints, their silken blousons, and their generously tailored jackets and trousers. They were love objects: Montgomery Clift, From Here to Eternity again. "Through cloth, you can really make movies," Miuccia said in February after her David Lynch-ian women's show. Today, she amplified that achievement. "Enlarging the panorama," she called it. "This is more complicated, more challenging. Just 'clothes' is boring. We need more passion, more humanity." And—she might have added—we need fashion to move forward, which today it did, in emotional terms at least.