Miuccia Prada, Feminist

Miuccia Prada has done again what she did three years ago for Spring 2010. This show wasn't obviously spectacular, revolutionary or jaw-dropping. Certainly not in comparison to Prada's previous collections. And so people were disappointed. I think many people (regular internet people, not critics) were disappointed with this showing exactly because it wasn't, as Hamish Bowles puts it, "the radical season changer that Miuccia so often serves us". But the problem with holding such high expectations, of always expecting these radical season changers, is that quieter instances of genius are not appreciated. There is the sentiment 'if it's not big, it's not good', and for some this collection was a bit of a let down. But it really shouldn't be!

This collection was, in my opinion, fantastic. Let me list the reasons why:

1. It felt like Prada was getting out some of her feminist energy. It was there in that dichotomy between girlish sweetness and, to paraphrase Prada, a toughness and seriousness. To be precise she said that the collection's folding resulted from her wanting it to be tough, although I have no idea how folding is inherently tough or serious. But let's not get caught up in the details! Importantly I think that what really defines the current wave, or new generation of feminists (that I think can safely be said to be symbolically helmed by Tavi Gevinson) is the co-existence of stereotypical, traditional notions of girlishness (such as dressing up to look good) with feminist ideals. So here I am projecting that Prada has given us the modern feminist - tough, serious, self-possessed, and covered with pink, flowers, and short skirts.

2. In a kind of carry on from my last point, I could imagine Kathleen Hanna rocking everything (and there were total Courtney Love vibes)

3. Jessica Stam.

4. Guinevere van Seenus.

5. That amazing folding, which was also seen at Christopher Kane! Thanks to Hamish Bowles' review I've learnt how this folding also relates to this "new feminist" dichotomy. Prada talked about "the struggles women have between toughness and softness, the rigor followed by delicacy, and the poetic part of women", and this is reflected in the folding of the Japanese kimono, which is about "tough rigor, the delicacy after, and the folding". Hmmm, "tough rigor", maybe that's how folding is tough and serious.

6. Ribbed underwear, and coats in summer. Nothing more to add.

So overall, I felt the Prada spirit very strongly here, with all those wonderful tensions between femininity and feminism, and all those wonderfully uncomfortable details (like ribbed underwear). Everyone came around to Spring 2010 eventually (myself included), and the same slow-building appreciation may happen here again.

all images from vogue.com

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