Friday, February 22, 2008

Straight/Laced

This is Miuccia Prada, taking a bow after her Fall 2008 runway show earlier this week.

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If you didn't know better would you ever in a million years guess that this woman was one of the most intelligent and downright subversive minds in fashion? My guess is you would not. She looks like a middle-school librarian, for crying out loud.

Also, apparently Miuccia Prada is a mind-reader. Yes! She can read minds! Well, mine, anyway.

I've been having a lace thing. Yes, I'm still having the feather thing, but I'm also begun having a little bit of a lace thing. I think the lace thing has been kicked off by looking at oodles and oodles of wedding dresses with my recently-betrothed friend Miss A. It's funny, but a goodly number of the dresses I've seen that made me go ooh (not that there were many of those) were made out of lace, usually entirely of lace. As a matter of fact, of the 934,603 wedding dresses I've perused in the last six weeks or so, I've found exactly one that I thought I might be interested in wearing myself if I ever tied the knot. This one:

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Pretty, non? Lace. Completely simple, unadorned, just made of lace. It appeals. (Ideally, though, I'd get married in McQueen or Dior or Lanvin, and chances are slim it will be even remotely wedding-dress-like.)

But I digress.

All the lace I've been gazing on and running through my hands seems to have gotten under my skin, and I've been thinking I'd like to get a few good lace pieces into my wardrobe. I even did a crawl through my favorite vintage dealer's stock not long ago, but I came up empty-handed.

Happily, Miuccia has solved my problem.

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::thud::

Look after look of this stuff poured down her runway and good googly-moogly, I want every single bit of it.

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Oh, my word, that is so unbelievably gorgeous. I could just cry. What I love about this, and what I always love and find such a consistent element in Prada's design, are the rigorous, simple, austere shapes turned out in crazy-beautiful, sumptuous fabrics. Not a lot of bells & whistles here, no silhouettes we've never seen before. Skirt suit & button-front blouse -- check. Sheath dress -- check. A-line skirt and peplum-waist top -- check. And yet...

...not so simple.

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Here's a close-up of the boot shown with this dress:

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I'm honestly not quite sure how I feel about this boot, but I do love the contrast of this sort of Mad Max deconstructed fierceness paired with that delicate lace.

It seems to me that Miuccia Prada quite a while ago came to terms with the idea that there really isn't anything new left under the sun, and made it her mission in life to re-define what we already have. It seems like with every collection she does, there are one or two gestures that render the whole thing extraordinary; one or two small twists without which the clothes could be utterly unmemorable. A fabric treatment, a pleat, a texture, a color, a lengthening or a cropping of a familiar silhouette... details and extremely deliberate choices that register as huge, dramatic statements. Examined from the big-picture point of view, however, you begin to see how the drama ripples out from a small, very deft stirring of the waters. A little here, a little there, and by the end it's as though she's recreated the whole ocean.

And also, often, blah-blah-fashionphilosophyfishcakes-blah -- it's just freakin' gorgeous.

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Here's where I maybe for the first and last time ever tell you to go ahead and succumb to your matchy-matchy impulses:

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If a lace handbag, however breathtaking, feels a bit impractical, go with leather:

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I really don't feel that would be much of a sacrifice, do you?

The lace for this collection was custom-made for Prada. "We've had all Switzerland working on couture lace. They're in shock," Miuccia Prada said. There were several different lace "themes" within the collection, ranging from extremely heavy, re-embroidered point de Venise to chiffon-sheers.

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Forgive the quasi-pornographic aspect of this photo, I just wanted to show the detail and variety of these fabrics. I can only assume that these clothes in production will come with some sort of lining. If they don't, Style Spy must insist on a your investing in a good slip or other modesty-enhancing underpinnings. You can look just as wonderful in these clothes without the world being able to see that ill-advised tattoo of a single red rose, the one you got one long, soggy, smoky night during grad school in a location normally exhibited to only the most... er... intimate of friends.

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So lovely, and not at all obscene.

But there is no getting around lace as a signifier for the erotic in our culture -- it's what we make our lingerie from, after all. Sheerness and laciness are part of our vocabulary of sex and seduction, which is what makes it such an interesting choice here. The contrast of the severe shapes of these clothes, shapes that are determinedly un-sexy, paired with the inherent eroticism of fabric you can (almost) see through sounds almost trite when described in words,

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but turns out to be dark and thrilling in practice.

Now that is a dress I could get married in...

There was a lot more to this collection, including some truly marvelous shoes, but I'll save that for next week. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Photos: MoniqueLhuillier.com, Style.com

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6 comments:

La Belette Rouge said...

I love Miuccia's look--the shirt and shoes are strong indicators that if she is a librarian it might be at an art school. Really, I kind of like her personal style. But, I like the sexy secretary or lusty librarian look.

All that lace is so beautiful. And love laced boots with lace. Homonymic fashion--that woman has wit!

Anonymous said...

Had I seen that first dress before my wedding last September, I may have rethought my decision not to wear white or full length. It is a beautiful creation! Now if I can locate that yardage of black lace I bought a few years ago "just because..."

Sian said...

I was wondering if Ms Prada had a slightly hunched back, or if she was just caught at a very bad angle.That last dark lace dress is utterly divine.

Caroline said...

You won't be wearing that last dress to get married in, because I will have stepped over a field of slain bodies to get to it first. Sorry, Aim. Priorities.

Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff (again). Thanks!

Rhiannon said...

Oof, just finished ALL the shows. I heard that MP did a lace collection because she hates lace. I hate lace too (only because it looks overripe and bourgeois duchess on me) but I loved that she could make it look so modern. Her shoes however, are 100% up my alley.

Deja Pseu said...

And she manages to make lace *sophisticated*; that's what's so impressive. This is not your 'tween's lace. I may have to rethink my staunchly anti-lace stance.