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Prada S/S 14



      I've been following the shows remotely from a communal computer screen for and upwards of four years, now. Those four years have dedicated themselves to the ups and downs of near-human relationship. At first, it was illogical love: I was amused and obsessed with nearly any dress on a long, thin girl that pranced across my computer screen or jumped across the page of a magazine. Then, as the years progressed, the love became more critical and perhaps more genuine. The range of designers I loved became dramatically slimmer (albeit it still a large amount), and the way in which I viewed the clothes was approached with much more thought than previously had. Quite simply, I've grown up and with that comes a change of thought or exposure to new medium of expression.
     This season, however, the remoteness of my admiration was alleviated with Prada. Behind the hasty checking of Style.Com in between classes, I felt a sense of closeness to the fashion I had so loyally and distantly observed.
       If there is one word that should be used to describe Prada's collection, it is Feminist. From look one, Miuccia put up a blatant rally for the word and its implications. The walls of the show space were adorned in murals by six graphic artists. They depicted women of various looks, yet all were incredibly feminine in a classic sense. It was a refreshing contradiction to see their soft -- fragile, even -- features conveyed by way of street art. To have the longing faces of refined femininity done in the overtly underbelly style (in the sense it was born of rebellion in tough, urban neighborhoods) of art was no doubt a political move. And those are contradictions that are distinctly Prada. They ask questions and beg answers. Upon staring back into the eyes of a blonde woman whose flower crown was anatomically cerebral, I couldn't help but think she was asking what all the fuss was around the word feminist. When did it become a "four letter" word?
     To sources at the show, Ms. Prada said "I want to inspire women to struggle." The statement confused me at first, given that I had hoped and thought she wanted the struggle of women for equality to be addressed once and for all. As the clothes came out with their garish colors and faces that matched those of the murals, her sentiment re-reared its head in more clarity. Perhaps the struggle was the actual rally for power, equality, intellectual freedom, or any other oppressed feature that has inhibited female potential. The women of this collection were fighters. They came out in thick, wool dresses embellished heavily in sequins and paired with sporty socks and underskirts. The shoes also had elements of sport, which vouched for the duplicity of the collection. The notion that the girls were entirely covered in shirts in heavy fabrics that were nevertheless adorned with the outlines of a brassiere, was a move equally as political as the murals. Especially on some of the more structured tops, it was an explicit image of the debate working woman with power vs. working women with intact femininity (thus, no power). By infusing the two so abruptly into one garment (one was not possible without the other), Prada argued that there shouldn't be a trade-off when it comes to power and the characteristics of being feminine. And, therein lies the struggle.
     Her women don't (and won't) compromise.
Pics via WSJ (first), and Style. Com (remaining)

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