Prada’s very first resort collection and Francesco Vezzoli at the Fondazione – Veronika Heilbrunner reports from Milan
Resort collections – also called cruise collections – are meant to inspire a traveller’s wardrobe, so it only makes sense that fashion editors are carried around the globe every May to see them.
That means that Miuccia Prada’s choice to show her first resort collection (and separately from the men’s shows in June) on a sunny afternoon in her hometown of Milan was a welcome change for all those jet-lagged editors. Also, I thought feeding the illustrious crowd with delicious risotto alla milanese, parmigiana, and all the delightful pastries Pasticceria Marchesi has to offer was an ingenious move.
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Set on the top floor of the ultra beautiful – and certainly ancient – shopping mall Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II above the very first Prada store, the presentation’s location made it a true home run. It was “overlooking the rusted industrial bones of the dome and the arcade, a vantage point so rare it was enough to make you feel like the Phantom alone in his opera house,” to quote my very favorite fashion critic Tim Blanks from The Business of Fashion.
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First off, I’d like to make a point about the very individual choice of “star guests.” I couldn’t quite believe I was staring at the Susan Sarandon’s back (she was sitting opposite me facing the window) and then seeing an amazing all-pink Bianca Jagger float in, who rumor has it couldn’t quite believe how short a show is nowadays (that is, compared to the late 70s when hundreds of looks by the like of Yves Saint Laurent went by). Then there was the über-cool Gloria von Thurn und Taxis and her it-woman daughter Elisabeth, former child-supermodel Milla Jovovich, and Courtney Love now long past her rebel youth and in a conservative and funky fuzzy sweater look. When I heard about a 70s newsroom anchorwoman legend attending, I realized the choice of “older” guests instead of the usual “youngsters” had to do with Francesco Vezzoli’s TV 70 exhibition opening that same night. Anyway, I applaud. I really enjoyed seeing inspiring woman past their so-called “sell by” dates, and with little or no social media exposure, looking nothing else but cool and just so right.
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I want to give every one of Miuccia’s collections the title Back to the Roots, and probably because she always manages to integrate herself in a new way, which certainly is her very genius. This time I was mostly struck by the very minimalistic approach taken to the black and grays – I’m thinking of her classic 90s nylon! – perfected by a stubborn feel given off from the all-black logo belts. Of course, she managed to offset this with a kinky lightness and the help of either embroidered or laced sheer, lightweight layers. It was hard to decide if the athletic underpinnings were retro or contemporary. I certainly loved the knee-high socks paired with chunky, geeky sneakers – they’re on my shopping list already. Other favorite looks of mine were the very 90s spaghetti strap dress on top of the buttoned-up shirt with Kate-Moss-i-D-Corinne-Day feathered pigtails and the variations of coats worn as dresses – Prada all the way!
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Having been very lucky to arrive at the Fondazione opening at exactly the moment when Miuccia was walking in to pose at the wall with her special guests, I felt so blessed to experience such inspiring woman close-up and, most importantly, smiling from the inside out. Talking about role models, she certainly is my #1 – and apparently also JK’s, which is all she sent me on WhatsApp while following this special Sunday via live streams and Instagram Stories from her couch in Berlin.
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And indeed, it was a super smart move to link the resort show with the Francesco Vezzoli TV 70 exhibition, which was opening the same night at Fondazione Prada. To quote 032c: “This is a fantastic artist reaction in an age of fake news.” And to quote the artist himself: “With this project, I wanted to set a path that was risky and dense – one as difficult as the subject requires – but also entertaining and surreal. A true investigation of this contemporary custom and its roots, informed by today’s critical sensibilities: 1970s Italian television produced rituals and, as a consequence, absolute, long-lasting myths that still today, presented anew in this exhibition, can inspire us to make unconventional choices”.
Also, the exhibition design by M/M (Paris) makes a visit absolutely worthwhile.
The night went on with a delicious, almost color-coded buffet from Bar Luce located in the far backyard of the premises and ended with Italian 70s star Iva Zanichi performing on stage.
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The show runs until September 24th, 2017 – plenty of time to make it back for a well-deserved second look.
Born and raised in Munich/Germany, Veronika’s professional career has developed from being a model to a fashion editor, to online luxury retailing and most recently style editor of Harpers Bazaar Germany. She currently lives in Berlin where in the beginning of 2015 she started a company with Julia Knolle, the ex-editor at large of Vogue Digital.
Oh, and she loves pugs!