Miuccia Prada is that rare bird amongst fashion designers who marries commercial success and design influence, a designer's designer so-to-speak. If you missed the recent T Magazine profile of her, it's well worth going back and reading it.
There is one passage however that left me more than a little skeptical:
"We talked about how her sense of style might become an instrument of even greater change. Why, for instance, do women behave as if age is a prison? Isn’t our era’s obsession with youth a form of mass hysteria? “It is much more of a drama for women, the business of aging. No one wants to age, and I really think we should find a solution. Especially because we live so much longer,” she said. “It used to be that a woman would have only one life, one husband, and if you were bored that was that. Now, you can have two or three lives. So even the concept of family is changing. I think this question of aging will define the society of the future.”
T Magazine: “So why not use older models sometimes?”
Mrs. Prada: “Mine is not an artistic world, it is a commercial world. I cannot change the rules.”
T Magazine: “But you change the rules. If you put an old lady on the runway, other people would do it too.”
Mrs. Prada: “Let’s say I’m not brave enough. I don’t have the courage.”
That last statement struck me as uncharacteristically timid given what we know of the designer. Isn't it Miuccia Prada who almost singlehandedly ushered in the age of the uber-skinny blond, bland Eastern European models with few curves and even less personality all the better to focus attention on the clothing? Wasn't it also Miuccia Prada that imposed the "ugly is beautiful" ethos and made us all want to dress like dowdy/cool mid-century secretaries? If she could do that, why can't she recalibrate the fashion industry's attitudes towards aging or at least start the long overdue conversation?
No one is asking her to cast her shows in the geriatric wards of local Milanese hospitals but I personally believe that casting a few "older" models could do wonders for a stubbornly youth obsessed industry. There is more than one form of beauty. Who better than Mrs. Prada to show us the way?
The Luxe Chronicles