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As you know, Nerdes obsess over certain things and may have a bit of trouble putting them down.  Right now, we’re obsessed with the ideas expressed by Prada in the MET Costume Institute exhibit  Schiaparelli and Prada:  Impossible Conversations, so we are back again discussing Miuccia’s work in a second post.  Whether or not you enjoyed the conceit of the exhibit (we were “Meh”), we most certainly enjoyed the articulation of Prada’s ideas. Which brings us to say, Miu Miu is control freak and we like it.

Harold Koda and co-curator Andrew Bolton set up the exhibit to focus on the subversion of the ideals of beauty – with sections such as “Ugly Chic” and “Hard Chic”.  While Schiaparelli’s designs fit into these categories, we found Prada’s to be the real stars. In “Ugly Chic” we found Prada’s boxy cuts and 1950’s inspired patterns, while “Hard Chic” featured Prada’s mid-1990s minimalist collections of darkly colored military-inspired clothing with zippers and button detailing (that we wished we could still buy today). Prada told Bolton, “In fact, most of my work is concerned with destroying—or at least deconstructing—conventional ideas of beauty, of the generic appeal of the beautiful, glamorous, bourgeois woman. Fashion fosters clichés of beauty, but I want to tear them apart.”

Prada expresses this sentiment further in her strong dislike of eveningwear. She says, “Eveningwear is defined by the notion of a beautiful woman wearing a beautiful dress, and that combination doesn’t interest me. The idea of dressing for evening seems very old-fashioned. I’m always trying to break the conventions of eveningwear, like using heavy wool for an evening dress.” Prada’s modern woman does not need a gown and high heels to be beautiful. She should feel beautiful at all times of the day. Her clothing should not overwhelm her personality, but bring it out by being easy to wear and comfortable.

We were particularly blown away by “Waist up/ Waist down.”  We loved the contrast of  pairing librarian blouses and armor like jackets with playful and sexy skirts and pants.  “I try to make women feel more powerful without losing their femininity.” says Prada.  While the fashion formula is typically to enhance and expose a woman’s upper body with pants and skirts remaining in supporting roles, Prada’s upper bodies are structured and suggest cerebral focus.  Placing the design daring on the skirt or pants is a slyly creative way to say I am not afraid to be sexy, however, I am in complete control.

As we left the museum and walked down Madison and into the park, we talked about our fall fashion wants, mainly that perfect pair of stacked heel shoes, that is comfortable enough for us to run around town in but also stylish enough to wear to an after-work party.  We need to be serious at work but also want to have fun at night – and it hit us, Prada is our girl.

Quotes and images from SCHIAPARELLI & PRADA: IMPOSSIBLE CONVERSATIONS 
by Andrew Bolton and Harold Koda, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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