With the fashion pack on the home straight, the pre-show sounds of Marvin Gaye’s 'Heard It Through the Grapevine' struck a chord. The Motown classic filled the venue with energy, and everyone had a front seat (or the option of lounging back on a large square sofa). The mood was relaxed, yet upbeat and exciting. Miu Miu’s placement at the end of the season is an essential one. Being one of the greatest minds in fashion, Miuccia Prada ensures no one gets on a plane – or train – that evening without her having the last word on the season. With an authoritative jubilance, this season’s collection was a celebration of Americana, decadence, romance and dress up.Martin Gaye’s all American soul anthem was eventually stripped back – bar by bar – to a raw acapella version. It sounded fantastic. Prada mirrored the notion by getting down to basics. Denim jackets were worn with men’s style boxer shorts and accessorised with pearls and stiletto heels.
The American translations of English aristocratic worlds by designers such as Charles James and Ralph Lauren were called to mind. Another layering of referencing had an early 20th century Russian mood evoked via a juxtaposition of Constructivism and pre-revolution Romanov ostentation. Workwear cuts of denim created floor length swagged and ruched skirts, which were one stitch away from having a bustle. Wide velvet buckled belts and floor length tapestry skirts also evoked a Russo-American take on Edwardiana. Disposable tissues poked out of the pockets – and looked like an ironic stab at old fashion notions of formality.
Katie Grand was on board this season as stylist. Prada and Grand’s shared love for a pin up really shone through. A film star glamour twinned with a young irreverence evoked images of grown up American Graffiti style sweethearts. Slicked back hair, furry jewel incrusted slides and rhinestone encrusted denim all added to a nineties supermodel take on the fifties. A Parisian naughtiness also crept in via oversized black stockings, which evoked fallen women - within the highly evocative paintings by Toulouse-lautrec - whilst crisp white bows tied to the back of high heel pumps were Belle du Jour chic.
It wasn't just Christian Dior’s 1947 hourglass New Look silhouette we saw here. A lilac cocktail number - worn by Lara Stone - reminded one of Charles James' love for a shoulderless dress. A reference on a reference, the cinched waists and full volume waxed belted trenches also cued us in on the fact that Charles James was an overall influence on the mid twentieth century style at Dior. The collection was full of playful touches like oversized crochet dolly collars, and tweed plus fours – which articulated hyper masculine and feminine ideas of traditional dress up. There was a Ralph Lauren dandy portrayal of the English gent, which was layered under Hollywood film star tropes of faux fur, crystal embellished sunglasses and stilettos. The final section saw stately home magazines come alive with an upper Hamptons Edie Beale eclecticism. Beautiful baby blue flocked coats imagined curtains having been pulled from windows - and re-fashioned into high society dress up.
In a season which has been awash with the new glamour, a late 20th century fixation with decon-recon and mish-mash referencing, Mrs Prada created a classic Miuccia collection. Like a champagne toast to the season, she was announcing that she’s been here all along.