The conventional, the ordinary, the mundane. I suppose for Miuccia Prada - a woman who reputably shoots out of her office via a Carsten Holler slide every other day - the workaday seems very interesting indeed. It's certainly a theme she returns to time and time again: conversely, perversely, Mrs Prada never gets bored with boring.
So to spring 2012, and the most boring collection Prada has done for some time. What I mean by that, of course, is that every element was trite, commonplace, conventional. Its the way Mrs Prada mixes them together that makes for great fashion. This time, her palette of references came from middle America: flowered brocade housecoats, high-heeled mules, sedate pleated skirts dropping to a polite mid-calf in a handful of milkshake colours. Sometimes, those skirts looked less polite, licked with flames like a souped-up dragster. Those also embalmed the back of shiny satin bomber-jackets studded with crystals, counterparts to the crop-sleeved Balenciaga via Bonnie Cashin cocoon coats in thick, embroidered fabrics. This being spring, Mrs Prada decided to bare some flesh, midriffs exposed between bubbly bandeau tops and hip-hugger pencil-skirts and structured swimsuits cut high on the chest and low on the leg. The accessories laboured the feminine point: every shoe was high, bags were hefty framed numbers like a childish doodle of a lady's purse.
Those references point at idealised womanhood - good girls playing nice, the pastel dames that populate pop culture. That style is entombed, embalmed. There were shades of Bardot in those bared midriffs, tight sweater over heaving breast alluding to Lana Turner, and - of course - those miles of pleats billowing were another re-reinvention of Monroe's billowy, blowsy sensuality circa The Seven Year Itch. Miuccia Prada quotes from that eternal female and fuses it with the ephemeral. She's eternal, for one season. That's terribly clever. The visual collision between car chassis and the chassis of the female, meanwhile, was no accident. Men humanise their cars as 'she', not he - it's a term of affection, but here it felt as if Prada's reinvention of woman was expendable. Like automobiles, this was simply the latest model, here today and gone tomorrow. How very fashionable.
Maybe that's taking object analysis too deep. Its always interesting to examine the male and female counterparts of the Prada vision each season, to see how they synch with one another. Remember Miuccia Prada's crazy golf menswear collection back in June, much-loved by all (except Miuccia herself)? If we're talking about woman as object, we have to examine the fact that Miuccia's men were just as decorated, a veritable ode to Lily Pulitzer, crusted in gems from beret to golf-cleats, a psychedelic caricature of Miami masculinity. In short, the perfect mister for today's pleaty, prissy missy.