A MAT­TER OF TASTE

Hong Kong Tatler - - Fashion -

“I AL­WAYS LOVED AES­THETICS. NOT PAR­TIC­U­LARLY FASH­ION BUT AN IDEA OF BEAUTY. I AL­WAYS WANTED TO BE DIF­FER­ENT” anti-it. Well, Prada was It, but be­ing too cool to be called it went be­yond It. And as its feisty leader Mi­uc­cia leapt ahead, she re-tex­tiled the for­mal aes­thetic with ex­per­i­men­tal ma­te­ri­als such as plas­tic, Plex­i­glas, pa­per and cro­chet. And her de­fault mode was, and still is, de­con­struc­tion—of beauty, of ex­pec­ta­tion, of tech­niques, of the mar­ket, and, most par­tic­u­larly, of her­self (she was born Maria Bianchi Prada in 1949). Mi­uc­cia Prada pleases her­self. She makes what she wants, when she wants, as an in­ner vi­sion of her­self. Women who wear Prada wear it to please them­selves, not oth­ers. And the out­side world of fash­ion, with its fol­low­ers and de­trac­tors, cor­re­spond­ingly gen­u­flects or gy­rates to the arc of her ob­ses­sions.

And yet, de­spite be­ing so im­pos­si­bly cult, there’s no col­lec­tive term for Prada fol­low­ers— no Pra-fi­ciona­dos, Pradames, Pras, Prads, Pradandies, Pradadists, Pradama­zo­ni­ans or Prada­tors. A de­cep­tive strength. The cult of one. As much a Prada uni­verse, the Mrs and her fol­low­ers cre­ate their own iden­tity, an in­di­vid­ual you-ni­verse.

At times, Prada can feel like the clos­est aes­thetic the West has to Ja­pan and Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garçons; Mrs has ad­mit­ted be­ing in­flu­enced by Kawakubo’s “in­tel­li­gence over sex­u­al­ity” and how the lat­ter de­bunks re­ceived no­tions of beauty. Prada has also ac­knowl­edged shar­ing Karl Lager­feld’s “no beauty with­out strange­ness in the pro­por­tions” school of de­sign.

In Italy, Prada can feel like the des­e­cra­tion

COM­MON AND COM­PLEX MA­TE­RI­ALS ARE RE­CAST AS LUX­U­RIES IN THE DIO­RAMA EX­CES­SIV­ITY. WHICH BEGS A QUES­TION: WHEN IS TOO MUCH NOT ENOUGH?

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