Miuccia Prada, at 68, is consistently the most on-point cultural barometer of any of the major designers, and her latest collection is no different. While other fashion houses have tried to embody the current moment of woman energy in the form of slogan tees and pussy hats, Prada got right to the spirit of it.
Decorating her runway with art from women comic book illustrators like June Tarpé Mills and Joelle Jones, she dressed the models in short shorts, sharp blazers, and studded creepers, just like a cool ’60s girl gang that bonds over rocksteady. There were new wave and rockabilly influences, too, and greaser haircuts that transmitted a J.D. lifestyle in multicolor zebra prints. It all seemed to capture the notion that today’s woman is not really that interested in being polite, and may in fact hit you with a sneer especially if you expect a smile. It captured the notion that no one should ever try to tell you that feminism is about being nice—in stud-shouldered sleeveless vests, pencil skirts splashed with paint, and winklepicker mules, of course.
As “feminism” becomes a more integral part of the vocabulary of the fashion world, the only time it really seems to work is when designers actually incorporate it into their actions—Christian Siriano and Chromat designing for a multiplicity of bodies, for instance. Miuccia Prada was a card-carrying feminist long before she was ever a designer, and so the way she expresses womanhood in her work suggests a constant, continued engagement with the way the philosophy manifests itself in our world. She always seems so fresh because she does not mimic the zeitgeist, she is part of it. And that’s why her clothes always seem so realistic—even if you, like me, can’t afford that shit!—no matter how fantastical she takes it. With this collection, she’s brought her art down to a more street level practicality, with some fun and edge strewn in.