Only Miuccia Prada could attach a label like "minimal baroque" to a collection whose references ranged from hospital scrubs to seventeenth-century cherubs to Jazz Age superwoman Josephine Baker. Fishing around for an alternative to "fresh," she herself came up with "brave, bold, and obvious"—that last one a typical head-spinner. Maybe there was something obvious in the sheer uplift of the solid blocks of primary color; the jungle prints and striped sombreros; the straightforward summery-ness of a spaghetti-strapped, ruffle-hemmed dress striped in orange and pink. But there was also more than enough of Prada's twisty-ness to boost this collection into her already chock-full pantheon of greats. Those cherubs, for a start, plucked from a curlicued baroque interior and all mixed up with bananas and naive monkeys in an exuberantly cartoonish print that looked like something lifted from a poster for a Josephine Baker performance at the Folies Bergère in the twenties. (The models' finger-waved hair also echoed Baker's.) But there was nothing cartoonish about a supremely elegant white shift with a Baker-like silhouette sinuously snaking up and out of a forest of multicolored curlicues.

Prada delivered electric hits of orange, green, blue, and radioactive violet in deliberately plain cotton suits, like the most (extra)ordinary uniforms. That theme continued in all the stripes. Prisoner, postman, sailor, orderly: The uniforms might have taken a cue from her last—equally special—men's collection, but they were also an evolution of Fall's spectacularly womanly shapes. This time around, however, the glamour was raw, amplified by the pop-colored stoles the models were toting, the graphic silent-movie makeup by Pat McGrath, and the severely sensual outfits in basic black that closed the show as the soundtrack crackled with the static of an old tango record. Miuccia's message was crystal-clear. As she said backstage, banana earrings vibrating: "It's time to be bold." And that's one maxim that, with any luck, will rub off on the world at large.