What do Swan Lake dancers, sumo wresters, a girl in a French-maid costume, Playboy Bunnies, and a Burning Man festivalgoer have in common? Not much, unless you're Miuccia Prada. For Spring, she said she was thinking about "life as theater, and all the clichés of how people represent themselves in the world." So, videos and photographs of these and numerous other characters were projected onto screens as her models wound their way through the baroque rooms of an Avenue Foch mansion.

As for the clothes themselves, they seemed to pull most inspiration from the ballerinas and the French maids on those screens. The silhouette was scandalously short. Fitted sleeveless blouses, some with inset bibs-cum-dickeys, blossomed out at the waistline as a tutu might and stopped just short of the upper thighs, where little-girl bloomers or a fitted mini were peeking out from underneath the top's hem. This look came in many variations—metallic lamés, tiny tiers of ruffles in black or cream, prim organza—and when Miuccia diverged from it, it was with a sculptural hip-length cape over silky short shorts or a multicolor striped jumpsuit that had echoes of her Prada show. Similarly, the illustrated harlequins and Pierrots that decorated brocades were relatives of the fairies at Miu Miu's big sister.

How does it all relate to the sheer, mumsy-ish polyester suits hanging in the label's stores now? In the sense that what we saw today was young and sexy, it doesn't. But the collection had this in common with last season's: It was subtly perverse (and given the kink factor, destined to divide opinion). At Miu Miu, that seems to be just the way Prada likes it.