Imagine being in your mid-twenties when the pandemic struck, about to make your corporate debut; your pressed skirt suit, ironed shirt, and unwrapped nylons abandoned in your closet for what seemed like an eternity. Will you put on that dusty uniform again when the world reopens and WFH is replaced by IRL? Or did something happen to you? It’s a no-brainer for Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu customer of the 2020s. When it comes to the age groups whose formative experiences were disrupted by the lockdown period, following in the footsteps of previous generations is no longer a given.
If the last year and a half’s seismic events have taught young people anything, it’s to question those values, norms, and, yes, dress codes. When the Miu Miu woman returns to the office, she literally chops up all of the predetermined rules. Today, Prada celebrated her own return to the office—the Palais d’Iéna, where the Miu Miu show is traditionally held—by seating her guests in ergonomic work chairs and treating us to a back-to-work wardrobe for the post-pandemic era. She shortened the length of corporate skirts and tops—frayed edges in tow—like rebellious private school kids cutting up their uniforms—until there was barely anything left to crop.
It was as if waistlines and skirt hems, as well as necklines and top hems, had a magnetic attraction to one another, drawing closer together as the show progressed. Midriffs were elongated to the point where Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera would have collectively blushed in the early 2000s, if the sight of those low-riding baggy trousers hadn’t made them faint first. Miniskirts migrated into top territory and morphed into belted bandeaus, and someone arrived at work wearing only a beige bra and a matching pencil skirt, the elastic band of her underwear protruding. All of this in the fabrics of a businesswoman’s wardrobe, mind you.
It was a sort of normcore for a strange world. Because of Covid-19, Prada hasn’t been doing post-show interviews this season, but she did grace us with a few well-chosen words: “It’s so normal, but for me it’s so strange.” “Strange is no longer strange,” she shrugged, continuing with her celebrity greetings. Certainly, the overt sexiness of the post-lockdown mentality does not seem to bother the new generations. Forget Casual Fridays; in 2022, it’s all about Freaky Fridays, and Karen from IT Support has her merino jumper rolled up so you can see her six-pack.
Prada did throw in some very viable new alternatives to the corporate wardrobe in case there are any apprehensive dressers left in this ‘new sexy’ climate. Cable knit skirts with high slits worn with shirts and faded oversized knits, as well as a stone-washed leather blouson with a matching box-pleat skirt, provided a realistic take on ‘the generational suit.’ And if those Freaky Fridays ever became Formal Fridays—how archaic—the chopped and tattered look was applied to some lavishly embellished dresses and suits rendered in the most beautiful smoky palette.
Prada’s winding white runway was lined with lens-shaped screens that displayed two comedic pieces directed by Moroccan artist Meriem Bennani. One scene depicted a businesswoman surrealistically arguing with documents that had come to life (“May God curse you with the sharpest scissors!”). Another amusing exchange was between Moroccan women mocking the latest trends in plastic surgery (“They take fat from the thighs and inject it in the butt”—”OK, so it’s Halal!”). What did Prada say? “Strange is no longer strange.”