Headband

by Miu Miu

by Penny Martin .

This deceptively simple accessory, designed to be worn by the fashionable consumer of 2004, comes to you via mid-twentieth century design, drawing on a 1906 version of 776 BC antiquity.

Fabricated for the Spring/Summer 2004 Miu Miu collection of all things 1950s, Miuccia Prada's Feather Headband recreates a mid-century millinery trend that itself was a pastiche of a pastiche of a pastiche. This deceptively simple accessory, designed to be worn by the fashionable consumer of 2004, comes to you via mid-twentieth century design, drawing on a 1906 version of 776 BC antiquity, as interpreted by nineteenth century copyists of late eighteenth sculpture.

A swirling arrangement of dyed cock feathers sewn along a spongy, lining-wrapped headband; the Miu Miu piece emulates the kinds of deconstructed headwear that gradually replaced full-scale hat-wearing for working, post-war women. These swathes of tessellated plumes were designed to flow along the brow line, leaving the crown of the head exposed. A mere gesture at formality therefore, the glossy sheen on the luxuriant feathers spoke less of the buttoned-up restraint of the 1940s than the glamour of the Hollywood studio system of the 1930s and the exotic historicism of the fin de siecle aesthetic movement.

Separated from the 50s context of the collection from which it originates, the Miu Miu headband resonates with the passion for Græco-Roman revivalism popularised at the start of the twentieth century by Paul Poiret and Leon Bakst's designs for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russe. Resembling a laurel wreath adorning a death mask from the Greek Hellenic period, the Miu Miu headband reminds us that the greatest designers need not ask permission of their historical sources to deviate from their chronologies. For all their loyalty to the structure of ancient Greek dress, even Poiret, Vionnet and Grès themselves studied it via nineteenth century casts of eighteenth century, neoclassical interpretations. In her confident handling of a distorted historiography, then, Mrs Prada demonstrates she is among the most classical of designers.

Feather headband by Miu Miu at Miu Miu +4420 7409 0900