As our lives have become increasingly confined to the indoors over the past year, the lure of natural spaces has seemed to pull out even the most devoted homebody. For Miu Miu’s Fall/ Winter 21 collection “Brave Hearts”, Miuccia Prada transports us 9000 ft above sea level to the ethereal Cortina d’Ampezzo peaks- in the heart of Dolomites Alps. Expansive and bright, the landscape holds both a beauty and cold austerity- a major presence in the show not merely a passive backdrop. The garments are both shielding from – and responding to – the landscape. Outerwear facilitates introspection in this way, allowing us to experience the environment through a translucent semi-permeable veil (or in this case crochet scarf) of separation- the line between outer and inner becomes blurred.
The collection plays with the dynamic between the exterior and interior, the public and the private- a woollen full-face balaclava paired with an intimate silk dress. Styled by Lotta Volkova, the stunningly developed ensembles speak to an emboldened playful relationship with the outdoors, in which the individual shows up on their own creative terms and is met but not subdued by their great surroundings. Speaking on the collection Prada reflects: “I walk a lot in the mountains and when it’s bad weather, it’s difficult… Little by little, I realized what I was trying to say: Bravery. The dream to do something that’s important and difficult. The clothes are not romantic, but the spirit is.”
The clothes are incredibly tactile while still pursuing mercurial themes conveyed by the perfect looseness in the outfit compositions. Playing with layering and textures the pieces tread the line between “protective and seductive” as the show notes put it; practical and escapist. Gauzy knit tops paired with hyperbolic faux fur teddy-bear boots, thick ski gloves and richly coloured crochet bally-scarfs. The models endeavour in a barefaced look -by makeup artist Pat McGrath- with brave hearts, across the icy plains.
There is an element of folkloric whimsicality to the collection- think alpine red riding hood. A palette of neutral stony and sandy tones punctuated with woody greens, bubble gum pinks and baby blues. I am reminded of photos I recently saw; one of a beaming Bardot the other of a pensive Birkin on respective ski retreats. From the plush snowsuit constructed in a 60s comforter-esque padded satin fabric to the 80s studded detailing, Prada is seemingly hinting toward an element of introspective nostalgia.
The show reaches its apex and conclusion with the models triumphantly circling around a large campfire- the flames and all their poignant significance burn against the dusk sky. While perhaps we may not all be able to walk across snowy peaks clad in Miu Miu, the sentiment of the show resonates. Whether just traversing the local park, an expanse of mulch and soggy benches, or roaming boundless forests, mountains and lakes- there is sweet pleasure being enveloped in the comfort of clothing while being outside with all its tender implications.
Look Images by Johnny Dufort