One thing's for certain: Miuccia Prada is not going to the eighties disco for Fall. Instead, her collection seemed to be a call for austerity measures, if that's what you can read into boiled wool forties-style coats and suits, clothes that might have been appropriated from domestic upholstery fabric, and (possibly for women going back to the land for survival) kinky fishing waders. It was a bizarre take on utility even Prada found hard to explain. "I didn't want to do anything about the city," she said, "more something about sport and the outdoors in general—freedom and nature. But in the end, I realized I liked coats and suits. It was serious, in a way. It was about a need for feminine empowerment." Prada's women, with their violently frizzed-up hair, certainly had a disconcerting look about them as they advanced, with red-rimmed glitter-ringed eyes catching the light with a nearly malevolent glint. What they were wearing was constructed from substantial tweed and stiff leather, slit to reveal sexually incendiary flashes of naked leg and red knit underwear.

As is entirely normal in the Miuccia Prada universe, any easy reading of narrative or reference was thrown off at every turn. Some of the strangeness was in the search for new volumes, swinging heavily from the shoulder in triangular, sometimes fur-laden shapes, or pinched into peplums by narrow, mannish leather belts. The footwear—wide-topped leather boots or velvet heels with Mohawk patent fringing at the heel—only added to the oddness of it all. In the end, however, it was not so disorientating and experimental that Prada codes weren't also fully exercised. The tweedy tailoring, fur, paillette embroidery, and, of course, the bags (now in plain businesslike leather or, for evening, an update of last winter's novelty sequin) have been staples for years. Even though Miuccia Prada might be considered one of fashion's out-there thinkers, this is still clearly a time to keep the brand fires burning.