Usually I need to wait a few months, sit on a Prada collection and then go forth with my verbal diarrhea. This time round, I came out of the Prada S/S 13 show with my brain a-whirring, which was then further revved up when I saw the collection up close in the showroom a day later. As with most Prada collections, there was much to dissect but for me, as a child shuffling back and forth between the good and evils of both East and West, even more so. Where to start? The sixties, feminism, youthquake, obedience of geisha type figures, orientalism a la Edward Said AGAIN but this time with an unexpected twist delivered in pure Miuccia style. Therefore, I'll just look to the feet first and foremost and figure the rest later.
"For me, shoes are where I can express my fantasy, my imagination. I think you have much more freedom to be outrageous with shoes. There is more room for craziness, for exaggeration."
The quote above from the Prada Schiaparelli exhibition doesn't seem to ever get old for me. It's a single nutshell explaining away all of Prada's preoccupations with the feet, as time and time again, she comes up with weirdly desirable footwear that in recent years have been so well-documented through streetstyle photography that by now, you're probably cynically looking at all this S/S 13 footwear, wondering who will be the first to wear them out on the "streets" and how many times you will see them in a Style.com slideshow before declaring them to be "over" within the time period of a month. Whilst I don't doubt that they'll be shot to death, I'll probably never tire of them as they present such a potent method of culture and style clashing that for me, even if I saw them hundred times.
If we look at the more complex style - the giant cake-like wedge, dotted with daisies, trussed up in satin and sandwiched sometimes with snakeskin layers - it's a shoe that goes as far and away from elegant as possible. In fact it's remit is to be awkward. Geisha may have had to walk gingerly in their geta sandals with the weight of the wood restricting their movement to small and ladylike steps but girls wearing these Prada beauties with the pairing of the tough judo leather socks will go stomping on the streets, aided by the flower power of the simple daisy that graced much of the collection. he prettiness behind all that pristinely crisp satin, perfectly formed rigid bows and tiny dots of daisies go up against what is a deliberately difficult shape as well as a hard-edged leather sock that masks the foot.
The simpler flatform styles with their layers of platform built up by building blocks or carved with a hole in the wedge remind me of the Tokyo Bopper, Belly Button and Unbilical shoe styles that are prevalent in Harajuku, Tokyo. They all share that strange mix between a chunky, ostensibly comfortable shoe to allow movement but have girly features like a naive bow, a lace-up strap or done up in a baby pink just to assert that these are indeed feminine shoes. They are undeniably kawaii in the hyper cute sense of the word, blending in the new and the old just as the Tokyo Bopper cultish shoes are inspired by heightened flatform styles of Japan's yesteryear. How strange that the quote on the top of the Tokyo Bopper website "We prefer the flower that blooms on the street" should be so appropriate for Prada's footwear and the collection as a whole.
With all that said, a gigantic flatform modelled after Japanese geta sandals adorned with daisies and paired with leather tabi socks isn't going to be everyone's speed. I suspect that's why Prada threw in the more conventional bow-fronted satin heels, to appease the more conservative customers. I, of course will be determined to get onboard this particular footwear train. I've already predicted prices of the more ornate styles going up towards the upper end of £1,500-£2,000 mark and have anticipated that for production, it's likely that these styles will be toned down in height. Another mad flight of fancy? Probably but Prada has been playing this game for so long, she's already pre-meditated the die hards out there clamouring for her visions, however strange, however odd. She's perfected the art of turning the undesirable into gold. As for me, I have no choice really but to slavishly follow suit.