I am going to have to wander a bit or this will be the shortest fashion review ever. Seriously, I could do this in 140 characters if required.

So, let’s talk about architecture and gothic cathedrals for a moment. Such was the general aesthetic Miuccia Prada was going for in presenting her younger-oriented line Miu Miu this afternoon. Set in a basement, which provides the necessary cold, clammy, and dark environment, arches made of unfinished plywood simulated the tremendous flying buttresses found in Europe’s great cathedrals. Even though the wood was completely raw and unfinished, the aesthetic was impressive. What might we expect in such a setting? Dark gothic visions of sexiness, perhaps? Or more conservative, religious adherence to some fashion bible?

No, neither of those factored into play. In fact, I’m still lost as to exactly what relationship might have existed between the set and the clothes, assuming there was one.

Instead, this spring/summer collection seems to be about coats and variations in fabrics. This is the third season in a row that Miuccia has made coats the central focus for Miu Miu and this season they dramatically overshadowed the clothes beneath them. They explored a range of variations based on a 1960s-styled dress coat, hitting just above the knees, not too terribly heavy, and generally resistant to weather. Some of the best were actually quite plain, but beautiful in the way an open field is beautiful beneath a clear sky. There was a fair mix of knit and leather, with a couple of car coats, demis, and cropped jackets worked into the mix at various points. A coat for all kinds of weather might well have been the theme.

The clothes beneath them also riffed off the 1960s, but here the silhouettes were limited to two. One was a cropped top with a high-waist pencil skirt (a couple of pleated skirts showed up mid-way, but the look was short-lived). The second was a full-length top with fitted, tapered slacks that went no further than mid-calf. That was it. Look after look after look, and there were 40 of them, the choice was one or the other of those two silhouettes. All that changed were the colors and fabrics. Most the cropped tops were heavy with ruffles. The longer tops with slacks had more variance with some of the looks being sweaters instead of blouses, and more variations in the style and depth of the neckline.

Fabrics on these looks were quite lovely, to be sure. Heavy tartans, printed silks, leather, and crepe all came into play. When there was a print involved, she was generally careful to pair a complimentary solid, though there were a couple of head-to-toe looks thrown in. For this who love the nuances that fabric gives an ensemble, you’re going to enjoy exploring the details of this collection.

With 40 looks in the mix, though, the collection quickly became as dry as, well, an old Sunday morning sermon. As lovely as the fabrics were, one would have like to see more variance in the silhouettes. There was more variation in the styles of shoes than there was in the clothes above them.

By the end, I was left trying to figure out the connection to the gothic plywood and wondering if any of those cropped top looks were really church appropriate. The looks were cute, but perhaps a bit too flirty for the conservative take on church in America. My guess is most stores wont stock more than a few looks anyway, so what felt like redundancy on the runway becomes a more navigable range of choices for buyers who can select based on fabrics rather than 40 different silhouettes.

Raw plywood, though. I’m still baffled.

Photo credit: Monica Feudi

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