There was an element of the ugly in this Miu Miu collection. You saw it in the way pieces were so purposefully mish-mashed and over-styled. A pastiche, it was aware of its own wanted precociousness. The opening sounds of the show music frenetically mumbled something about ‘monster chic.’
If this season’s Prada show was about the fifties housewife, trapped within the suburbia of broken dreams, Miuccia Prada widened the narrative’s timeline at Miu Miu. It had the same fall out vibe. Like a socio-politcal Tumblr search, it was seemingly rubber necking the internet’s car crash of culture. Women here were at once in the driving seat – and resigned to back seat subservience. Victorian playmate housecoats were blended with late 20th century dourness. Gingham shirtsleeves and Fred Perry style aertex collars framed the faces and wrists of post-punk princesses, who walked to the beats of free jazz inflected angry techno. The gothic undertones of such jumbled nonsensical genius has been mirrored in the news this week. Ian Curtis’s house has just been bought by a man who is declaring the Joy Division frontman as ‘a modern day Rembrandt.’ The terrace house in Macclesfield, where Curtis lived and killed himself, is set to be handed over to community groups to be collaged into some sort of living and breathing art space. Open to the public, the kitchen where Curtis hung himself will at once still be that room, but not that room. Bordering on the tasteless, and pop macabre, it is a postmodern construct of what a house is and was.
On that note, women here were playing house, or at least pretending to. Lolita undertones were articulated via tiaras, and a kind of infantile styling mechanism that had the girls look like they were dolls due to the cartoonishly oversized fussy chiffon worn on top of cut out formal shapes. Completely unnecessary raccoon tails added to a lost and found style commentary on materialism and the grotesque. Similarly to Rei Kawakbuo’s Comme des Garcons show, there was a feminist witchy element to the collection, courtesy of new moons and sparkly trinkets pinned to blouses and the backs of jackets. Prints were used to reference the two ends of the collection’s referential timeline, yet were at once talking about the central topic. Candle motifs were consecutively followed by print images of lighters. While a candle has connotations of spirituality and romance, a lighter’s lowbrow-ness is also strangely fascinating. They are essentially both gothic motifs; one stepped in historicism, one in pop culture.
A halted haberdashery feel, composed of both, black overcoats and deliberate fussiness, this collection felt deliberately drop out and divergent. Bowie bouncer coats and teal fur stoles resembled the garb doormen and women would wear if Gabrielle Rossetti had opened an opium den in the 1970s. Esther Williams Art Deco mermaid embellishments sat on top of black voile, whilst jigsaw leather pieces looked like trompe l’oiel ties on check coats.
Like a stream of consciousness, this collection may feel nonsensical – but it was a deliberate resignation from dream culture – and at once a diving in.