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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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Most Influential!

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, the Time Magazine they have named our muse the Miuccia one of the 100 Most Influential Peoples of the 20th Century!

Creative director of one of the most powerful labels in fashion, Prada is credited with having “provoked and influenced colleagues for years with her eccentric and highly personal sensibility”. Known for having worn Courr?ges and Yves Saint Laurent while handing out communist flyers at protest marches in her youth, Miuccia never expected that she would make such a success of her grandfather’s luggage company. Now running it with the help of her husband Patrizio Bertelli, she has transformed it into a $2 billion conglomerate and her influence on international fashion trends is second-to-none. “Three seasons ago she launched the frumpy Fifties housewife look, which would rule other designers’ runways for several seasons,” says Kate Betts, who pays tribute to Miuccia in the magazine. “In February she stunned the colour-happy fashion industry with an all black collection. Which means that, for now at least, black is the new black.”

Of the course, this it is not the surprise to the Manolo he has long known that the Miuccia she is the influential genius of the first order. Still it is nice that the press of the mainstream they have finally come to this same conclusion.

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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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The Post of Washington Cheers the Miuccia

Friday, February 25th, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, here is the Robin Givhan of the Post of Washington on the Miuccia’s Milan show.

Only Miuccia Prada, in her signature collection, offered evidence that fashion can still be inspiring, that it can grow and shift its moods in almost an organic way.

Prada presented her collection Monday night in the industrial bareness of her loft space. It was a stripped-down, spare collection that was introduced with a single black dress, its beautiful seams sensually tracing the body. Evidence of this garment’s painstaking construction was clear. The essence of fashion — the fundamentals of assembly — was laid bare. This was not clothing that had been prettied up with a lot of flourishes, with ruffles, beads, sequins and the like. Here was a simple, pure aesthetic meal.

It is tempting to take the easy way out and to describe the Prada collection as minimalist, as an obvious swinging of the pendulum away from ornate clothes and toward something simpler. That is the way fashion tends to work, after all. Just when the industry gets consumers all juiced up for brooches and beadwork, it pronounces all of that over. But Prada is not that obvious.

These clothes are evidence of the way in which fashion can grow and evolve, of the way in which garments can reflect a designer’s confidence and innate sense of style.

Manolo says, one of the things that inspires the Manolo the most about the Miuccia herself is that she has the confidence in her own vision and abilities. She is the woman who clearly knows what she is capable of doing, of her own enormous strengths. There is the lesson in there for all of us.

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Cheering for the Miuccia

Thursday, February 24th, 2005
By Manolo

Prada Fall 2005

Manolo says, here is the Fashion Week Daily’s review of the Miuccia’s most recent show.

They stamped their feet and cheered at the end of the Prada collection Monday in Milan, where Miuccia Prada caught the fashion world off balance with a dramatic change in direction and a collection which will have the industry scrambling to catch up for some time.

After several seasons where she had made embellishment her mantra, Miuccia edited the whole Prada look back to its essentials – subtly chic fashion that whispered authority and style. In short these were clothes for modern movie stars who want self-assurance and status in their fashion, not sass and sex.

Manolo says, the idea that these clothes they were for the “modern movie stars” it is somewhat of the ridiculousness.

These they were not overtly glamorous clothes. Rather, as the Manolo keeps saying, they were serious clothes for the serious woman. The glamour, when it was present, it was the by product of the confidence of an adult woman in her element.

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More from the NY Times

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, here is another paean from the Times of the New York to the brilliance of the Miuccia.

People don’t give Miuccia Prada enough credit. And, no, that is not meant as a gag. Certainly few who follow these things are unaware that Ms. Prada, whose latest collection, shown on Monday, was greeted with hosannas by critics and retailers alike, more or less single-handedly keeps this so-called fashion capital on the map. Her ability to simultaneously mine the past and plumb the mood of the cultural present should, at this point, be considered uncanny.


“Even in a quietly beautiful collection like this one, she is like a car that sideswipes you and gives you a jolt,” said Julie Gilhart, the fashion director at Barneys New York. “She makes you think and reconsider and wonder if there isn’t a deeper play on what she’s doing.”

That is not to suggest that Ms. Prada gives short shrift to the commercial nature of her craft. “We will sell every single look in that show,” Ms. Gilhart added, offering to show this reporter an annotated notebook that numbered and marked off virtually the entire Prada runway show. “In my entire history of taking notes, I’ve never done that before.”

What makes that bit of retail minutiae interesting is that runway shows rely for effect on shapes and split-second impressions. Take a closer look and Ms. Prada’s other and more interesting ambitions open up to view. Like the German artist Anselm Kiefer – whose monumental “Seven Celestial Towers,” an installation of enormous stacked structures made of concrete, lead and shattered glass, was on view at a hangar on the outskirts of Milan until a week ago – Ms. Prada often plays games with accretion and destruction. Both scavenge the culture for metaphors and motifs and wrench them from their expected frame.

Manolo says, Wow! Even the Manolo he would hesitate before comparing the Miuccia to someone like , but now that the comparison it has been put forward, the Manolo he cannot but agree that perhaps, maybe, possibly it is apt.

It is no secret that the Manolo he is loathe to put too much intellectual or cultural weight onto fashion.

Yes, the Manolo he loves the fashion, he lives for the fashion (and the shoes!), but he knows that the clothes of the most of the current designers, they will not support much in the way of the scrutiny. Their clothes are disposable and should be treated as such, as the ephermeral notions and fads they are. They may look good, but they do not speak to more than the shallowest of our emotions or thoughts.

This, it is what it is. Not everything needs to be profound. Indeed, most of the time it is sufficient for an item to be merely pretty.

But, at the same of the times, SOMETHING must be profound. And in the world of the fashion that single something it is the Miuccia.

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Miuccia Smiles

Thursday, January 27th, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, the Miuccia she smiles upon us and our human weaknesses.

Miuccia Sitting

Monday, January 24th, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, here is the picture of our Miuccia, sitting on the steps at the Prada epicenter in the New York.

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