For Prada’s Spring Summer 2013 show, Miuccia Prada wrote an ode to Japanese femininity. Using this inspiration as a through line for the collection, Prada then married the aesthetics of traditional, contemporary, and futuristic. In doing so, traditional influences of the geisha were paired with harajuku style accessories, bringing together modern Japanese womenswear with that of history.
There is something delicate here in Miuccia’s interpretation of Japonisme. Satin fabrics are folded in form reminiscent of the paper folds of origami. Oriental white floral patterns, sometimes consisting of just one or two flowers are featured on simple back dresses. Delicate silk ties on the shoes are neatly tied into ballerina-esque bows. But similarly, there is also something quite edgy here, most notably by way of accessories. The footwear in this collection consists of metallic sock-like pieces separated at the big toe. Often, the shoes feature thick platforms striped in black, white, and neon green. With Prada’s color choice and unique design, they almost suggest a space-age aesthetic. Architectural bags and sunglasses are ornamented with floral graphics similar to those found on the garments.
As the show goes on, Miuccia introduces color (particularly deep green, then bold red, and on to girlish pinks and pastelle greens) to the garments as well as varying patterns and silhouettes. We begin to see a range of cuts from high neck to off-the-shoulder, and a lovely crop of fur jackets. The florals begin to travel from traditional to Warholian and back again. In this way, Prada is able to beautifully take historic inspiration and pepper in modern characteristics in a way that feels both natural and new.
Traditional elements like kimono-like silhouettes, structured satins, and even the precise red lip were notable highlights of inspiration for Miuccia Prada here. But what she pulls off in this collection is proof of her mastery in applying a subtle, unexpected modern lens. Prada pays homage to a Geisha-like femininity while also challenging it, and bringing that aesthetic to coexist with a new bold, daring take on womanhood.