It's a measure of Miuccia Prada's reputation as one of fashion's great intellectuals that we can be thrown into a mild tizzy when she's being (relatively) light and straightforward. For Spring, there weren't any of the brooding, disconcerting undercurrents we expect from her; no hard-to-read subtextual brain teasing. Instead, Prada did "business to beach," a representation, she said, of "how life is today. High and low, palazzos, and the popular," and, she smiled, "I really liked it."

Her girl was chic and together looking, with a teased, side-swept hairdo and shiny vermilion lips, making her way through a high-tech fantasy set on which projections of sumptuous Italianate interiors—checkered marble floors, pillars, chandeliers—alternated with fragments from touristy beach scenes. The merging of modernity and classicism played in the fabric of the opening "business" section: precise, angular gray duchesse satin and nylon coats, jackets, vests, and Bermudas that had been scissored off to leave raw edges. Manipulated photographic prints showing palm trees, beach umbrellas, and lounging holidaymakers were then applied to jackets, short shorts, and panties—seemingly an evocation of the fifties and sixties, though actually, according to Prada, drawn from images of a man-made resort in Japan. "It took me ages to find the right one," she said.

In other words, there was plenty of the wearable Prada in there (ignoring the panties and the section of semi-sheer cloque baby-doll things), pieces to appease both the seekers of minimal daywear and the collectors of her decorative print-y things. In the finale, too, there were offerings of the embellishment overload that is also an essential part of Prada, including silver- and crystal-embroidered tops and showpieces made of strung-together chandelier components. No existential-political angst about the state of the world, then? Not at all—and that, Prada concluded, is just her point. "When things are bad, you have to come out from that. Optimism," she declared, "is a choice."