Since fashion is often considered frivolous and materialistic, it can be easy to forget the power it exudes. Throughout history, many groups have used fashion to express their political opinions. The feminist movement is no exception. Though many feminists often blame fashion for the objectification of women, fashion has played a vital role in helping women gain equality. Take for example, 80’s power dressing. The large shoulders and blazers allowed women to appear authoritative and competent in professional settings that were once reserved only for men.
Like the power blazer, Prada’s spring 2014 line elicits a sense of feminine strength, independence and empowerment. Despite prevailing contemporary attitudes that feminism is a movement of the past, Miuccia Prada wishes “to inspire women to struggle” with her collection. Prada’s muse is a woman who knows what it takes to make it to the top in a world that is still in many ways a man’s world. After her show, Miuccia told WWD, “I am fixated with the idea of women of strength. There is a necessity to be strong, visible, fighters, and this is an encouragement to be out there and to do something.” Her models were certainly the epitome of a tough, hard-working girl who doesn’t take no for an answer. Referencing the Riot Grrrls of the nineties, Miuccia’s models were depicted as girl gangs. With fierce, stern looks, these muscular models defied the stereotype of a weak, emaciated model.
Many of Prada’s looks mirrored the decor of her show. The show took place against murals that resembled the political street art of L.A., Mexico and South America. These murals of women’s portraits that echoed contemporary muralist Diego Rivera along with other Mexican artists portrayed “an active, strong woman.” While the portraits evoked multi-visions of womanhood, they were not entirely political. These faces were works of art with their bold colors. The women’s portraits were enriched by the lavish surface materials of rich brocades and fur that they were printed on. Prada’s outfits were not without ostentation. Jewels, high-gloss, intricate cuts and elaborate embroidery embellished the outfits.
Even though the models had a powerful, fearless look, they still had feminine charm. Prada added lovely lady-like purses to her collection in hues of cobalt, freesia, orange and hemlock. In fact her collection seems to scream, “I am a woman,” with her bejeweled external bras. This lingerie as outerwear is a throwback to the mid-1980’s. As in the eighties, this visible undergarment can be seen as an assertion of sexual freedom. These intensely jeweled bras are emblematic of Prada’s ideal hard-working woman. The gem-encrusted bras act more like armor preparing this courageous woman for war. Though Prada’s spring collection has an element of decadence to it, the collection is as WWD reports a celebration of “a new-age power woman who wears her audacity and feminine strength.”
(Image Courtesy: Style.com)