Insta-Critic: Miu Miu Marries Grandma Style and Exotic Skins

Photo: @miumiu on Instagram

There will be no secrets here: Miu Miu is a brand I feel passionately about. The first pair of designer heels I ever splurged on were one of Miuccia’s creations. No one keeps whimsy elegant like Miuccia, and (forget the famous Chanel apartment), I frequently think that her world would be the fashion universe I’d most like to live in. Today’s show was simply a case-in-point. On the Miu Miu runway a fabric as old and traditional as tweed is revitalized instantly by the addition of patches of python. Big collars and Little House on the Prairie fabrics became super-mod when layered under mini shift dresses made entirely of exotic skins. Playful daisy costume jewelry finished off many a look, but trust–ultimately, it will be the cheeky shoes (wonky patents in retro hues with blocky heels) that have many editors cleaning out their closets.

I have a thing for ruffled cotton blouses! @miumiu #pfw #fall15

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Not your average Grandma…(see Daisy accessories, Little House patterns and ruffles, and exotics-infused tweed).

The gorgeous @iamayajones rounds the bend @miumiu #pfw

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It’s a snakeskin mini dress, yes it is!

The @miumiu shoes oh my… Make room in your shoe closet for the Fall #becausefw

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Note the SHOES.

Pattern mixing on point.

A parade of colorful exotics.

Insta-Critic: Prada’s Very Modern Princess

One would imagine, based on the looks of it, that to live in Miuccia Prada’s imagination, would be a beautiful thing. Today’s whimsical collection was full of Prada-typical unusual color combos, lots of suiting (in neoprene!), tweed coats with fur panels, and 90s babydoll dresses with embellishments fit for a fairy princess. Finally, homage was paid to Amal Clooney’s gloves, almost all the models wore elbow-length colorful iterations, and get ready to see a lot of those two-toned loafers this time next year.

The @Prada parade, full of neoprene suits (and Amal Clooney gloves) @glamourmag

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A parade of fun suits

Prada in pink, with a wink. (RG @id_magazine).

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Unexpected color combinations and unusual embellishments.

Modern day princess vibes.

Pastels on parade at @prada.

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Quirky elegance

12 Must-See Fashion Exhibits for 2012

If you’re still kicking yourself for missing the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty retrospective, there are twelve ways to fill your fashion exhibit void this year. MTV FORA has put together a solid list of displays across the globe, and it features everything from the Azzedine Alaïa exhibit in Holland (one displayed creation pictured) to the highly-anticipated Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs tribute in Paris. See the roundup—which includes three events that you can catch right here in New York—after the jump.

1. Christian Louboutin at the Design Museum, London (March 28 – July 1, 2012)

2. Azzedine Alaïa at the Groninger Museum, Holland (December 11, 2011 – May 6, 2012)

3. Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada at the Met, New York (May 10 – August 19, 2012)

4. Coco Chanel at the Mint Museum Randolph, North Carolina (May 21, 2011 – February 26, 2012)

5. Jean Paul Gaultier at the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas (November 13, 2011 – February 12, 2012)

6. James Bond Style at The Barbican, London (April 2012) 

7. Fashion, A-Z at the FIT Museum, New York (November 29, 2011 – May 8, 2012)

8. Diana Vreeland at the Fortuny Museum, Italy (March 2012)

9. Yves Saint Laurent at the Denver Art Museum in Colorado (March 25 – July 8, 2012)

10. Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs at Les Arts Decoratifs, Paris (March 9 – September 16, 2012)

11. 50 Years of CFDA at the FIT Museum, New York (February 10 – April 17, 2012)

12. David LaChapelle at the Seoul Art Center, North Korea (November 22, 2011 – February 26, 2012)

Getting Artsy for Miuccia Prada and Germano Celant

Center548 got in touch with its artsier side last night at ICI’s Annual Benefit and Auction. Candles flickered in mirrored boxes as animated colors were projected along the walls. The room was buzzing with that particular energy that only a roomful of passionate people can provide. Patrons browsed an impressive curation of art up for auction as members of Artsy walked the crowd, providing iPads for easy bidding. Large projections of the featured artwork and their respective current bids flashed across the walls – it all was very high-tech.

After some boozing and bidding, Dasha Zhukova, Sophia Coppola, Marina Abromovic, and other attendees venture upstairs for dinner. Somewhere between the pear salad and the apple-filled donuts another live auction took place led by Sotheby’s Alexander Rotter. Guests held up their programs illustrated with bidding paddles as the auctioneer called out prices for lots that didn’t offer physical prizes. The resulting outpouring of generosity from the paddle-waving attendees stunned onlookers.

The Leo Award and The Agnes Gund Curatorial Award were bestowed upon Miuccia Prada and Germano Celant, respectively, for all their contributions to the world of contemporary art, the work of the Prada Foundation and for the exhibit When Attitudes Become Form:Bern 1969/Venice 2013. Celant graciously accepted his and Prada’s awards, tearfully reading a letter on her behalf, as she was unfortunately unable to attend. His gratitude and appreciation was palpable through a heavy Italian accent.

I had the absolute pleasure of sitting beside one of the artists whose work was featured in the silent auction. Halfway through our second course we found ourselves discussing the struggles of being an artist and he imparted upon me some wonderful advice in the way of artists being like gardeners, albeit pretty poor gardeners at times, who only reap a few crops despite the amount of seeds tossed. He stressed the importance of not getting too caught up in the weeds or discouraged by what didn’t grow but rather to really focus on cultivating what did break the surface and bloom. As he finished his story his work of art flashed across the projector screen, he nodded, that grew.

After dinner, guests headed back downstairs for the after party, kicked off by a stunning performance by Amadéus Leopold. From the far corner, dressed in flowing robes and with his face painted chalk white, he made his way through the crowd, playing his violin and occasionally singing a haunting line or two from “Silent Night” and “Amazing Grace”. There was an innate theatrics to his performance that was only emphasized by the extravagant costume and the exaggerated movements of his bow arm as he made his way through the crowd and up to the stage. His performance ended abruptly has he raced out of the room, a roar of applause chasing him out. To say he made the night would be an understatement.

The evening raised over $600,000 in funds that will directly contribute to ICI’s public programs, educational initiatives, and international networks of curatorial exchange.

The Active, Strong Women of Prada

Considering the feminist slant in Miuccia Prada’s show in Milan, it makes sense that to decorate her runway set she would enlist six contemporary artists to paint portraits on the walls, instructing them to create “an active, strong woman,” according to WWD.  The line-up of artists included El Mac, Mesa, Gabriel Specter, Stinkfish, Jeanne Detallante, and Pierre Mornet – a list that includes men. Men can be feminists, too, you know!

All six artists only painted women’s faces, leaving bodies out entirely, to Miuccia’s surprise. But given the way women’s bodies have been cut up visually in advertising and other arenas, reducing them to no more than a set of legs or cleavage, it sort of makes sense to leave them out. A little eyes up here, please, and I have a brain, you know.

Bras worn on top of clothing and shoes that could not have been farther from sexy continued to communicate the aggressively feminist aesthetic of the show. And for what it’s worth, feminism’s not a dirty word when it doesn’t have to be, but aggression in all forms is asking for confrontation. And I will never be convinced that those shoes are appropriate, or that wearing bras on top of a shirt is chic or functional – something most women I know generally require. 

YES: Miuccia Prada Releases Sketches of Her ‘Great Gatsby’ Costumes

Move over, Moonrise Kingdom: fashion is crushing hard on a new flick. After what feels like years of anticipation, Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby is finally set to hit theaters in May, and style-stalkers are already hyperventilating over Carey Mulligan’s period looks. It helps that the designs were dreamed up by Luhrmann’s longtime collaborator Miuccia Prada, who already has an insanely loyal following for her innovative vision. The film will feature a whopping 40 dresses from past Prada and Miu Miu collections. Today, the famed Italian fashion designer has released sketches of four of them.

As reported by the Telegraph, Miuccia and Catherine Martin (the film’s costume designer and Luhrmann’s wife) collaborated to design costumes that reflect “the European flair that was emerging amongst the aristocratic East Coast crowds in the 1920s” and illustrate the “dichotomy between those who aspired to the privileged, Ivy League look of wealthy Long Island and those who were aspiring to European glamour, sophistication and decadence.”

Keep your eyes peeled for the Prada moments in the film’s ballroom scenes, where you’ll catch the below orange organza dress enriched with plastic fish scale-like sequin embroidery (inspired by Prada’s FW11 collection) and the knee-length dress in octane-colored tulle lined in matching silk cady. See more sketches here.


Your Day 2 Round-Up of Milan Men’s Fashion Week

At day two of Milan’s men’s fashion week, Tomas Meier showed off his knack for constructing that perfectly tailored leather jacket at Bottega Veneta‘s early morning show. Black and midnight blue reigned supreme at Emporio Armani‘s modern cool event, where models sauntered down the runway in luxury cloaks with fedoras, sleek modern leather coats, and impeccable silk suits. Ermanno Scervino was all about argyle, intricate and chunky knitwear, paired with simple gray and blue blazers.

When it comes to smart, luxurious dressing, Salvatore Ferragamo‘s creative director, Massimiliano Giornetti, continues to prove that he is one of the best. Precisely fitted wool double-breasted suits, subtly ombré polished shoes, elegant winter coats in auburn, ash, and a gray, had a classic yet sophisticated ease. A double-breasted gray Astrakhan coat and a pair of merlot-hued velvet dinner jackets with piping turned a few heads, for sure. The new Ferragamo man doesn’t need to flaunt his affluence with flash. He’s too busy to, anyway.

Vivienne Westwood (pictured, top) got political, with a David Attenborough-inspired collection called The Frozen Planet. "If our leaders would admit the fact of climate change and conduct their polices from that perspective, then we might have a chance. We have ten years at the most to stop it," Dame Westwood stated, in an urgent message on the global warming crisis. Models donned iced-over beards and hair wearing a range of plaid, strip and tartan wool suits, patchwork, bright colors, and asymmetrical tops in blue, forest greens, and heather. The label also announced that it has collaborated with sustainable tee-shirt manufacturer ANVIL, to create a limited edition of shirts for men’s week, available on to support GreenUp! 

Missoni had a young and contemporary interpretation of its iconic knitwear, while Trussardi went ’70s glam, replete with flared proportions, wide lapels, and a funky color scheme. Miuccia Prada spun up some fanciful military chic on her star-studded runway in Via Fogazzaro. But with names like Émile Hirsch, Willem Dafoe, Gary Oldman, Adrien Brody traipsing down the red catwalk, who could focus on those tremendous clothes? Thom Browne‘s Moncler Gamme Bleu looked like ski astronauts exploring some blizzard-doomed tundra, and Italo Zucchelli incorporated exotic leathers and croc into Calvin Klein Collection’s über-modernistic DNA.

But some of the top picks from the second day of shows came by way of footwear. From designers Cesare Paciotti to Alberto Moretti, and Swiss label Bally, all presented a variety of winners. Giuliano Fujiwara re-worked brogues boots in sturdy nubuck with rubber soles and colorful techno embellishments. Arfango’s Alberto Moretti relied on high-glam and artisanal craftsmanship for his winter 2013 collection. A series of loafers and ankle boots were adorned with either Swarovski crystals, velvet detailing, or metallic studs, which should give the intrepid dapper man some great evening options.

Bally co-directors Micheal Herz and Graeme Fidler whipped up some stupendous calf skin moccasins in primary colors and waxed/water-proof suede boots. A Bally emblem bag in toffee-brown leather and the signature Scribe collection screamed urbane working man. Bally also introduced a prototype interactive display system that will be installed in select boutiques, enabling shoppers to custom-design their dream footwear. The label’s ready-to-wear options had some awesome quilted outwear, which we inspected over a refreshing glass of, what else, Prosecco.

Last but not least was Cesare Paciotti‘s ever-growing shoe empire. After successfully launching the Steve McQueen-inspired Madison 380 NYC line, composed of understated classic options, the brand is expanding from suede to patent leather and shoes with a bit more edge. The best boots seen so far can be found here: Fur-lined industrial leather stivali, with Paciotti dagger insignia and exposed zippers and studs that were very of the moment, a bit indulgent, but rugged.

Anna Dello Russo

Anna Dello Russo at the Ferragamo show.

Miuccia Prada Introduces Miniskirts for Men

Better late than never: after about a month of the latest issue of Purple Fashion — Olivier Zahm’s well-fed Parisian magazine as notorious for full frontal nudity as for fascinating features on a range of fashion, film, and art world alumnae — gathering dust on my bookshelf, I finally cracked the hefty rag yesterday only to find a fantastic profile of Miuccia Prada, among other noteworthy pieces. And the interview, conducted by Massimo Torrigiani, reveals a pretty juicy piece of information about what Prada will put putting her FW10 male models in come fashion week. Simply put, you haven’t seen the last of men’s skirts.

“I’m working on [a men’s collection] right now and someone at the office worriedly asked me, ‘You’re not going to make short skirts again, are you?’,” Prada recalls of a recent conversation with a collaborator. “So I’m now pushing it even further, just for revenge!” Given that the trend has been gaining steam for quite a while (with Marc Jacobs publicly promoting himself as the man skirts’ seemingly biggest advocate, not to mention Huffington Post paying tribute to the trend with a “celebrity men in skirts” slide show earlier this month), you can rest assured men’s skirts may have a formidable future in fashion. (To boot, Dear Abbey has already made it clear she approves.) “Menswear should take cues from womenswear, and not just the other way around,” Prada continues. “Menswear is so limited so I’m free with my ideas. Otherwise I’d die of boredom.”

Miuccia Prada Goes Gay

After citing the inspiration for her men’s fall 2009 collection as “survival” and producing a walking army of leather and metal hardware, Miuccia Prada has turned to what is most likely the most legitimate fanbase of her more eccentric collection pieces: none other than the New York gays. Prada was spotted parading around uberhip eco-club Greenhouse this past Sunday during club promoter Susanne Bartsch’s biggest gay party of the week.

Catching other fashionables like Richie Rich or one of the Blonds twirling their wigs to 90s remixes wouldn’t turn much of a head, but Miuccia Prada knits a different tale. Known for attracting club kids channeling more Michael Alig (read: tranny makeup, androgyny and body glitter galore) than Chelsea proper, Sunday night’s crowd must have provided Prada with all the inspiration she needed, as it’s arguably the city’s biggest costume party. As we slip on our spiked loafers, we can’t help but wonder if the end result of Prada’s venture into the land of muscle and honey will yield a runway presentation for men or women. One can only hope the woman who can tie the effeminate with greasy masculinity in a neat bow will deliver equally to both racks.