People talk about Miuccia Prada as an intellectual designer. Up there with Martin Margiela, Dries van Noten and Rei Kawakubo, Ms. Prada is a heavyweight in the world of conceptual fashion. Season after season she manages to surprise and inspire the notoriously critical and fickle fashion crowd.
What's less cool to talk about is Miuccia Prada's knack for marrying the creative with the commercial. No other designer seems to be as able to take the most high-falutin' catwalk looks and translate them into a commercial product in the showroom. For Prada and her infamous husband Patrizio Bertelli, "commercial" is not a dirty word. Buyers rave about Prada's ability to provide the right balance between the consistent core items that form the foundation for her collection as well as the on-trend items that push the brand's creative ideas forward. In more ways than one, she is a leader not a follower.
How cool it was then for me to see this stunning lookbook for Prada's S/S 2007 collection, which once again strikes this inimitable creative-commercial balance. So many lookbooks are just boring shots of androids- cum-models with a white backdrop. Often, the logic behind this is that its best to let the clothes speak for themselves and allow buyers to focus on editing. Instead, Prada has seamlessly combined this season's vibrant rich colour palette, key pieces and trends (fringe bags, turbans, ruffled leather and pared-down chic), landscape and cityscape images reflecting the global footprint of her brand, and seamlessly integrated these with runway looks to deliver a strong message about what she might have been thinking as she conceived of her collection. The technique she used reminded me of the recent Gilbert and George exhibition put on at the Tate Modern, where everyday photos were infused with saturated colours and political messages.
For someone who honestly was a big fan of neither the turban nor the fringe, she somehow makes it work for me. The products look completely different now because Ms. Prada has let us into her amazing little head.
Photos courtesy of the Prada website.
© 2007 Copyright Imran Amed - The Business of Fashion.