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Miuccia the Dramatic

Thursday, December 8th, 2005
By Manolo the Shoeblogger

The Dramatic Miuccia Prada

Manolo says, here is the dramatic picture of our muse the Miuccia Prada, it is the picture that accompanies the interview in the Vogue magazine website. Here is the interesting excerpt that explains why the Miuccia peeks out from behind the curtain as she does.

Q: Why the timid runway appearance at the end of the catwalk each season – when other designers stride the length of the catwalk to huge applause?

A: “Historically I tend to refuse any of the clichés of my job. Besides I’m not stupid – I don’t want to compete with all the gorgeous models who have just appeared before me!”

The Paradox of Not Caring

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005
By Manolo the Shoeblogger

Manolo says, the Sunday Times of the London they have the article about our muse the Miuccia Prada, published under the title In Praise of Modesty. Here is the excerpt.

If there is a fashion pioneer living today, it is Miuccia Prada. Her vision of the modern woman totally changed our attitude to sex and how we dress it up. She is fashion’s great provocateur, and when she sends models down the catwalk wearing sheer blouses buttoned severely to the neck, or black capes worn over beige shirts, or with belts pulled tightly round cardigans and socks up to the knees, you wonder, is her interest in the clothes at all, or in the opportunity to play intellectualised sexual games? Above all, how has she managed to take us all along her own special path?

When I put this to her, it’s obvious that she is not entirely sure of the answers herself. After all, she came into fashion through the back door, with no training and, initially at least, no great interest in the business. She had always had an abiding curiosity about appearance and what it says about us, though.

“I realise how powerful and important clothes are, especially for women,” she says. “They have to be useful for your life, of course, but they must also express your individual sentiment.” That Prada accepts that all fashion is role-play is what makes her such a force. She understands that the job of the truly ground-breaking designer is to decide on the roles, dress them and then present them in such a way that people all over the world want to join the cast.

Prada herself makes an unlikely éminence grise. She is neither dowdy, nor overwhelmingly chic. In fact, she looks entirely normal. Her figure is that of a woman in her fifties. Her hair is cut like most other women’s hair. She rarely wears make-up. Contrast her with another Italian icon, Donatella Versace, and you realise that she is a fashion outsider. Certainly, she avoids socialising with most other designers and runs a mile from social events. As she said to me, years ago: “I am a wife and a mother” — she has two teenage boys — “and I have many more interests than fashion. Fashion is just my job.”

But today she has amended her tune: “I’ve become impatient when people claim they don’t care about clothes. They still dress every morning, and if they are going to reject fashion, they still need clothes to show it. Style rebellion is still a form of self-expression.”

Indeed, as the Miuccia notes, claiming to not care about the clothes, to not be concerned about what one wears, it the paradox, for the clothes worn by one who claims not to care make as much the statement as those worn by one who dresses with the purpose.

These inescapable facts obtain: that the clothes they are always necessary, and that others they will always judge us by them. These are the reason why the Manolo he would have you dress with the purpose, to consider carefully what you would wear, and to think about the effect your clothes and how you wear them will have on others.

Of the course, this it does not mean that you must dress to please others, nor that you should follow the lowing herd, but rather that you should be conscious of the image you are projecting.

For the example, if you wish to project the image of carefree disdain for the high fashion, be aware that your dirty t-shirt of the Oakland Raiders, torn sweat pants, and flip-flops may not be conveying that exact message, may in the stead, be saying to the by passer, “Cross to the other side of the street, lest this person’s disdain for personal hygiene and grooming infect you with the parasites.”

Manolo says, the fashion, it is not the nuclear rocket brain surgery.

There are the simple rules for dressing that can be used by anyone to maximize the assests and diminish the faults, and thus project the worthy image. Likewise, there are the ways and reasons to deviate from these rules that will thus project the pleasing counter image. But the central necessity for properly using, and sometimes ignoring, the rules of the fashion and the clothing it is to be thoughtful, to consider your choices carefully, and to be aware that you are always, always, always projecting the image, even when you think you are not.

The Magnificent Miuccia

Thursday, September 15th, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, in this month’s super gigantic Vogue magazine there is the article entitled “The Magnificicent Seven” about the seven designers who have “partaken of the dramatic romanticism that characterizes what is best and most directional in fashion today”. Of the course, our muse, the Miuccia, she is included in this group.

Beyond the polite niceties of mouthing congratulations, there is a reason people crush backstage to meet Miuccia Prada after her shows: They want to see, up close and personal, what Miuccia herself is wearing—because what Miuccia wants to wear, almost inevitably, is an accurate barometer of how women the world over will soon be dressing. If Miuccia’s in a full pleated skirt, you can bet you’ll be wanting to ditch anything that’s constricting from the waist down. If she has sprinkled a constellation of diamond brooches on a cardigan, you, too, will soon develop a yen for sparkly pins. Even the sight of a headband holding back the designer’s hair gives pause: Maybe you don’t have to be seven years old to get away with one?

Backstage you also have a chance to catch a few rare words from Miuccia, about what she thinks of fashion that particular moment. Prada’s pronouncements come down—a bit cryptic, sometimes puzzling—like utterings of the Delphic Oracle. Take, for instance, how she explained this latest fall collection to Vogue: “A femininity that is antique, dolente, and strong—like in some Chinese movies.” As a visual representation of this somewhat mysterious statement, she provided an image of the actress Li Gong, who in her recent movies—2046 and Eros—has revealed a dark, dramatic beauty, and worn clothes with the spare and elegant silhouette of the fifties.

Sure enough, you can find echoes of the Chinese cinema in Prada’s strict black coats with collars that suggest the necklines of silk robes, and dresses scattered with blooms that look like they belong on a fan from old Shanghai. But these are scudding references, moments briefly illuminated that quickly go dark again. Where does the crochet, and the passementerie and the grommets, fit into all of this?

That’s the real power of Prada. Nothing is ever literal or obvious or played out. She still nurtures the mystique that surrounds a designer toiling alone with her thoughts. And that, in an era where more than a few faces from the supermarket tabloids think that making clothes will be as easy as making pop music, is to be treasured.

Prada is also a woman making clothes for other women. This statement isn’t a preface to some specious argument about how, because of her gender, she is able to design better. But Prada does process her inspirations differently from the other (male) designers featured here. Like her contemporaries, she will abstract aesthetic possibilities from the cultural sources that interest her, but there’s also another impetus, too: She’s also always looking at ways to retool her own personal style.

“Clothes should always represent your vision of yourself,” she says, “or what you want to represent—even if it’s only for one night.” She might, for instance, watch Jeanne Moreau in François Truffaut’s The Bride Wore Black, and then try to capture the composure and calm projected by Moreau’s on-screen wardrobe of short, severe black ensembles; this will set in motion a darker, more severe movement in her own wardrobe … and that, in turn, will be reflected on the runway. That’s why people leave a Prada show thinking that what she has done is so very, very new—and so very, very Prada.

There is one paragraph in this that is perhaps the smartest thing the Manolo he has read all year, and the writer, the Mark Holgate he is to be commended for it. Read it again.

That’s the real power of Prada. Nothing is ever literal or obvious or played out. She still nurtures the mystique that surrounds a designer toiling alone with her thoughts. And that, in an era where more than a few faces from the supermarket tabloids think that making clothes will be as easy as making pop music, is to be treasured.

This it is so correct that it almost takes the breath away. Many are the times when the Manolo he has lamented the fact that eveyone and their dogs think they can become the designer of the clothes. Designing the clothes at the level of the Miuccia it is the form of the art, and to believe that you can do it without the thought or the talent, it is ridiculous.

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The Interview With Miuccia

Saturday, March 5th, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, the Manolo he does not read the GQ, as it encourages the men to take up the peacocky fashion, however, this month the Manolo he has made the exception, as this issue it includes the interview with the Miuccia. Here is the excerpt:

GQ: You know that show Sex and the City?

MP: Embarrassing! I was thinking New York is like that. I have the impression that the people are like that–the women, the bitchiness.

GQ: The thing is, too many women see that show and they think that’s how their life should be. Rather than create their life, they imitate a stupid show. And that’s the worst thing you can do. Right?

MP: Oh no, it’s terrible. Also the way of total and sure unhappiness. It’s what I say all the time to my girls in the office here: The more they dress for sex, the less they will have love or sex. These girls throw away so much energy in this search for beauty and sexiness. I think that the old rules were much more clever and better than the rules now. The trouble is, most people are not so generous. Everybody wants love for themselves. I hear this all the time from the women I work with. I hear them say, “I want, I want.” I never hear them saying what they want to give.

GQ: Do you tell them that?

MP: Yes, of course. They don’t listen. With women, the more unhappy they are, the more undressed they are. This is true. Dignity’s another very important part of this. Sex and the City is the opposite of dignity. You have to have dignity for your body–this is with men and women. You need to have dignity towards how you are, how you dress, how you behave. Very important. Men are always much more dignified than most women.

GQ: Why?

MP: Because women have the stress of being beautiful, of age and youth. Men don’t have all that. And with women, that stress causes a lot of mistakes and bad choices–a lot of not being their true self. You know, the older I get, the more I prefer to talk to old people. Old people or kids.

Manolo says, yes, the interviewer he is not the brightest of the bulbs, but he has nonetheless managed to elicit important responses from the Miuccia about the role of the tradition, respect and dignity.

It is no secret that the Manolo he is the lover of tradition, and the believer in the dignity of the individual, and in the proper respect for the self and others. This is one of the reasons why he is such the fan of the Miuccia, because she knows that the fashion it is truly secondary to these most important of things.

(By the way, the Manolo he disagrees with the Miuccia about the men having more dignity than the women. There are many of the mens who are completely without la dignidad. It is however true that the pressures on the women they are corrosive.)

Here is the more from the Miuccia.

GQ: […] So what is the point of fashion? The average GUY pictures a few strange people sitting around indulging their bizarre whims, and I’m not sure you disagree.

MP: Clothes can be important. I am learning this. For instance, often when I design and I wonder what is the point, I think of someone having a bad time in their life. Maybe they are sad, and they wake up and they put on something that I’ve made, and it makes them feel just a bit better. So in that sense, fashion is a little help in the life of a person. But very little. After all, if you have a serious drama, who cares about the clothes?

GQ: I believe in uniforms—finding a look you like and sticking to it.

MP: I love uniforms because they allow you to hide. No one knows what you are thinking, so it’s a very appropriate and correct way to be yourself.

Manolo says, this is one of the points the Manolo he was trying to make at the Manolo for the Men with regard to the ridiculous men’s clothes of the Vivienne Westwood.

Too often, one sees the person who devotes enormous amounts of the psychic energy to maintaining the outwardly bizarre appearance. Ultimately, this is most often energy wasted, energy that should have been properly devoted to maintaining the inwardly unique or revolutionary way of seeing the world.

We wish to dress well and fashionably for many reasons, for the pleasure of having beautiful objects, for the pleasure of eliciting the envy or desire of others, for the pleasure of the feelings of self-confidence, but most importantly, we should wish to dress well because the clothes they allow others to give us respect.

The Manolo he does not wish to go all Foucault on you, but by this “give us respect” the Manolo he means that the clothes they are the signifiers of position and power.

The fact it is that others they judge us by our clothes. It is not fair, but it is nonetheless completely the way of the world. Thus we should dress well because the good clothes they earn respect and admiration that is not necessarily deserved, but is nonetheless useful.

Of the course, ultimately the clothes they are irrelevant to whether or not that initial respect and admiration they are maintained. True character, as the Miuccia rightly knows, eventually emerges.

Here is what the Manolo he said a few weeks ago at the Manolo for the Men.

The grown up peoples they require the grown up clothes.

Do not denigrate the importance of looking “normal”. Fashion it is about looking good, not seeking out the look of the abnormal, or the outre, or the purposely ridiculous.

Manolo says, the true radical in the serious well-cut, well-tailored clothes is the one whose thoughts, talents, and actions will change the world. The attention-seeking adolescent in the motley clothes of the fool, this person is merely the comedic sideshow.

Manolo says, enough of this! And now, back to the funny pictures of the celebrities.

(The Manolo he has taken the liberty of adding the illustrative links to the Miuccia’s words.)

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Milan in the News

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, here’s two articles about the Miuccia’s show in the Milan. The first it is from the AFP.

Miuccia Prada conjured up a ready-to-wear collection for autumn-winter 2005-06 that had a decidedly couture feel and reminded the Milan fashion crowd that basic black is always chic.

Like British film director Alfred Hitchcock, the Italian designer — whose show capped Monday’s presentations — likes women who hide their passionate personalities beneath an icy veneer.

Her stone-faced models, sporting high heels and showing a bit of leg, cut a pure silhouette on the Milan catwalk that recalled the deceptively complicated couture designs of the legendary Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga.

Prada’s seemingly simple black and brown coats and dresses were in fact wonders of construction with straight or puffed out backs, narrow sleeves and nipped waists. Each was given a bit of volume with careful tucks and pleats.

Manolo says, this review it is pretty close to what the Manolo saw in this show, the retro feeling of the 50s and early 60s, and the strong influence of the Balenciaga.

Here is the second article from the Telegraph one that notes that the Miuccia she has decreed the return of the color black.

If there is one woman in the world who can state with conviction that “black IS the new black” it is Miuccia Prada.

She made that pronouncement after her stark and simple autumn/winter 2005/2006 collection at Milan Fashion week last night. No matter that she was wearing a white cotton shirt-dress with red high-heeled shoes at the time; perversity is part of Prada’s charm.

“Black is a very important colour and it is coming back. After a while you get fed up with colour and print,” she said. “Now it is time to be serious. Less fun, no frills. Last year we used fashion to escape from our problems. Now, we need to be more realistic and show ourselves to be more substantial.”

Manolo says, the Manolo he cannot but applaud this retrurn to the fashions of the adult.

Why the Manolo Started His Prada Blog

Wednesday, January 19th, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, undoubtedly many of the readers of the Manolo they have been wondering why the Manolo he started an entire blog devoted to the fashions and personalities of the Prada and why he was resistant to starting the blog about the mens fashion.

Here, in this article about the Milan menswear show, the Miuccia herself she tells you why.

By her own words, Miuccia Prada has decided to take menswear seriously. “It’s time to put the avant-garde behind, and analyze what men really want from fashion,” the designer said after her Monday preview presentation of a no-fuss, classical look for next winter. […]

“Let’s face it, men are conservative at heart,” Prada said.

Manolo says, this it exactly expresses the philosophy of the Manolo with regard to the dressing of the mens. The fashion of the man, it is about the classical forms and materials, this despite the long-standing attempts of the confused GQ-reading peacocks to bring about the radical change.

Manolo belives that if the man he can keep his shape, he can wear the same suit, if it is of the high quality and the classical tailoring, from the young manhood into his grave. The same it can be said of the mens shoes.

This it is why the Manolo, he did not initially want to start the blog about the fashion for the man, because it is not as exciting to the Manolo as the shoes for the women. (Ultimately, only the out crying of the masses in need presuaded the Manolo to relent.)

Manolo says, the Miuccia, she knows.

B Movie Inspiration

Wednesday, January 19th, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, here is the article talking about the latest men’s show in the Milan.

The next time someone asks you what you plan to wear when carrying out a particularly tricky assassination, an unlikely eventually I grant you, tell them it will be something from the Prada winter collection shown Monday evening in Milan. […]

Banished from the catwalk — make that gangplank — were the traditional Prada nerds. Instead, we welcomed in a new era of hunky hitmen. Not ugly mobsters but deadly pretty boys, the sort Alain Delon would have hung with in French classic crime movie Le Samurai.

Dropped as well were the gadgets and computer toys that accessorised recent Prada men’s seasons. Apart from a few thin ties, dreadful woolen gloves that looked like a very bad stylist’s ploy and one purple leather bag, there was not a furnishing in sight.

Don’t get us wrong, this was an very fine collection, whose very simplicity was its greatest strength. It opened with a half-dozen camel hair looks, splendid coats, snug suits — all of them creased from a continental flight, or was it a night in a car waiting patiently to perpetrate a crime? Most of them were worn on naked torso, the better to highlight their precise construction and unexpected sex appeal. And when the night turns cold, then Miuccia had neat little Moroccan skullcaps — a few in leather with grommets — to keep Luca Brassi’s head warm.

Sleek black wool redingotes, excellent tooled leather suits and a speckled herring bone duster were each impeccable. The footwear, a notable collection of suede boots and loafers, came with worn toes. Standing around for a capo in the rain does have its downfall.

“I wanted tougher, but more human,” Miuccia told FWD backstage. Her inspiration — “italian kings of the b’s,” a series of movies dating from 1949 to 1976, shown in the Fondazione Prada art space in collaboration with the Venice Biennale.

Manolo says, the Miuccia she was striving for a tough, but stylish chic, which she accomplished. As the Manolo he has said before, he thought it was a very good show, and in general a very good collection.

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