“Every message is a translation, but nothing has ever been translated.” So reads the top of the notes left on every seat at the Miu Miu Spring/Summer 2023 show. Waiting inside the circular Palais d'Iéna (the late ‘30s-era former Museum of Public Works), excited attendees sat on tubular benches, while immersed amongst Shuang Li’s out of space and time multimedia installation. With videos featuring interstellar animation by Linyou Xie (and a dreamy original soundtrack by Eli Osheyack), the Berlin and Geneva-based Chinese artist evoked broken, labyrinthine wires, under the ocean floor, which comprise the “cloud” upon which we so depend.
Meanwhile, the Miu Miu-requisite It celebrities — all wearing Fall/Winter 2022 looks — began their procession posing in front of Li’s stark metal mesh gate backdrop. Quite a few, including Zaya Wade, Chiara Ferragni and Emily in Paris’ actor Camille Razat were dressed in the now-iconic (but still polarizing) mini-mini-skirts, while others stunted in the season’s leather micro-hot pants and crystal-embellished sheer dresses — also giving a reference point for Muiccia Prada’s vision for Spring 2023.
“Miu Miu’s timelessness is born out of impact of the ‘90s, an era that marks the beginning of a burst in communication, individuality, etc., and which has resonance in my work,” collaborating artist Li told WWD in a teaser to the show. The statement also could relate back to the show notes header, as Prada revisited and reimagined her some late-‘90s hits: sculptural bubble shapes, pleated knee-length skirts, languid, yet utilitarian low-rider separates, short-shorts, and belt bags.
Setting the tone, the introductory look featured variegated layers of ruched and crumpled cotton-silky thermal-like dresses. It brought 1999’s The Matrix to mind, but not the sleek black leather that dominated the runways in 2018 — rather, it left one thinking of the film’s stylized, yet gritty, non-simulated reality world of recycled military clothing. Possibly reflecting the 21st century communication element of the themes, Prada transformed sporty-tech parachute pieces into oversize puff-sleeve parkas and collared, long-line windbreakers, all with gleaming, open-ended zippers. She also softened the tactical aspect of the archetype with dress silhouettes, like a reverse ruffled collar style and a spacesuit-gray and Regency Era-empire waisted corset layer over a Miu Miu logo underwire bra.
The slouchy, boxy blazer over tiny separates, from previous seasons, evolve into jackets with raw-edge trim — as if the silk inner-lining was disintegrating. Tiny shorts and miniskirts are now accented with two overly-voluminous zip pockets; almost cannibalizing the need for one of the chic top-handle mini-suitcase bags from the upcoming collection. Prada also plays with the roomy pocket motif on structured and distressed leather jackets and knee-length vests, mid-calf-length shorts with the raw-edge trim peeking out and actual belt bags themselves. The mini-mini naysayers will be happy to see hem-lengths hitting the knee (or below) in sorbet-hued and bead-embellished sheer styles, pleated A-length parachute ones and more ‘80s-reminiscent acid wash denim pencil silhouettes.
The runway presentation began winding down with Emily Ratajkowski in a tactical twist on a bandeau crop, with a release buckle (and maybe a low-key functional small pocket?) and a low-slung leather knee-length skirt with the aforementioned zippered-pouches. Bella Hadid followed in a similar top, but streamlined with a black skirt (also reminiscent of the famous ‘90s Calvin Klein ads.) FKA Twigs closed out the show in a navy cable-knit sweater, over a crisp white button-down shirt with French cuffs, but worn as a dress. Around her waist: The collection’s signature double-pocket belt bag, but elevated in a sleek black silk satin.
Kind of like the conclusion of the show notes: “The messages lost in transmission do not just disappear, but rather, imagined here, can take on another form. Punctuating the sky.”