Deep Plastic

Deep Plastic

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A few weeks ago, I downloaded Face Tune on to my phone for the first time.  Quasi Luddite that i am, and not quite knowing how to use this beautifying, selfie-perfecting app properly, I played around with the extremities of pinching in my cheeks to get rid of my Chinese “moon” face, elongating the body and shrinking the bingo wings and the thighs.  I’ve not yet been able to bring myself to actually post one of these tuned-up photographs and yet the fascination with the meta-morphing process persists.  Sure – retouching be it with clever scapel cut-outs and ink since the beginning of photography or Photoshop in the latter part of the 20th century is nothing new but to have those tools at your personal disposal and to physically see how a finger swipe here or there can dramatically alter your online persona is at once intriguing and terrifying.

It’s with these Face-tuning, auto-tuning and plastic-driven thoughts that I look at Prada’s A/W 15-6 collection, soon to come into stores and be mauled by my grubby paws.  For a few, it was a sugar overload too much.  For others, it felt like longtime Miuccia tropes rehashed yet again –  debutantes gone “off”, our ideals of girliness subverted and what are the fine lines between the fake and the real.  But the world has changed dramatically since Miuccia first debuted her nylon backpack in 1984, making the most industrial of materials feel like luxury.  The ability to ‘fake it to make it’ has never been more available to us.  Plastic driving up our disposable and debt-fuelled income.  Plastic on our faces and body.  Plastic masquerading as eggs.  Plastic devices in our hands 24/7 backed up with plastic-constructed servers delivering information so that we might assume knowledge.

And so Miuccia used the more-than-familiar tools at her disposal to pass comment on what is an increasingly “beautfiable” (made-up word for a made-up world) environment.  The faces had an eerie Stepford Wife glow about them.  The hair was bouffant but also lopsided in its backcombed pony and held in place with paste gemstone ornaments.  The fabrics had an away-from-the-body matte quality achieved with double bonded jersey and then echoed in the rubber soled loafers and space boots.  The colour palette seemed to be derived from Fantasia’s Pastoral Symphony passage – powdery pastels of a cartoonish foreground mixed with muted hues of the background.  Upon closer investigation, Miuccia’s methods of decoration were further comment on the mutating genes of today with molecular structure prints and embroidery, the highly visible and surgical top stitching and the more-is-more arrangement of bows, oversized perspex brooches and crystal encrustations.  Tweeds – both real and printed, and ostrich skin – authentic and abstracted – are all available as are the options of modification to our bodies and our minds.

The cleverest thing about Miuccia’s views on the shifting parameters of artificial beauty, embedded into the collection is that there doesn’t seem like a passing of judgement, for or against.  After all the women who can afford regular doses of Prada might also be getting regular doses of Botox.  For the likes of me – scared even of an innocent Face Tune-up and doubly wary of invasive surgery to enhance one’s self – delving deep into Miuccia’s inquest into superficiality is perhaps a better way of engaging with our increasingly plastic world.  At least you can take the clothes off at the end of the day.

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6 comments

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  1. David

    2015-07-02 at 6:03 PM

    Love the post and the details. Xx

  2. Colour Me In

    2015-07-02 at 11:03 PM

    Very intriguing post! Their use of materials is magical – a completely surreal look!

    Colour Me In Blog

  3. Mario Bertulli

    2015-07-03 at 9:21 AM

    The collection is really nice. Nevertheless, the shoes are to surrealistic for me…

  4. Deborah Woolf

    2015-07-03 at 10:29 AM

    Really interesting to read Susie, you’ve given me a lot of food for thought, especially as I was lucky to have a short sneak peak hands-on of some of this collection a few weeks ago and watched a (very slim but un-botoxed & non make-up wearing) friend try on a tweed blouson jerkin/trouser set which she ordered – and interestingly in context of what you write, she was worried it made her look fat! So I’m thinking more on what you say about MP ‘shifting parameters of artificial beauty’ etc. The models in the photos certainly look mannequin-like and have a ‘Stepford’ glow. The neoprene dresses with the beautful acryllic/jewelled embellishment were stunning in the flesh but definitely in an ‘out of body’ way as you say. I had definite flashback to the feeling of handling and dressing my Barbie/Sindy clothes from the 60s..so perhaps that carries through to wearing them too?
    I loved the molecular prints (which admit I saw as camoflage) and the tweed was such beautiful quality and tone. The green ostrich jacket was quite something (as was the price tag!).
    I tried a sample pair of 2-tone pink leather/rubber Mary Jane shoes (was tempted) but unfortunately, as already sz 7/40 they looked so large and clowny…but not in a good way sadly. Maybe if I was 6ft tall.
    Looking at the neoprene collection my friend commented how badly neoprene wears, giving some of this collection a very short shelf life perhaps. Perhaps that adds to the artificiatlity of it all..
    Great post, thanks for making me think more on the collection 🙂

  5. Alan Wong

    2016-09-30 at 5:15 PM

    That golden pink heel must be pricey???

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