BIG ENERGY Basics Forever💋
A nod to the Prada show, and why it made me psyched to wear my own clothes again.
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I grew up in the ‘70s/’80s on the Sears and Esprit catalogs, which makes it a touch hilarious that I became a person who attended lots of fashion shows…like hundreds. Occasionally during Fashion Month, it wasn’t unusual to be on the road flying from one city to another for three weeks straight, giant suitcases in tow (a privilege, for sure). And, sometimes I was lucky enough to experience a show so special, transcendent, and rare…so beyond just fashion itself…it stayed with me for days.
Oftentimes, though, these shows—or moreso the experiences surrounding them—filled me with dread. The crowds and the chaos made it hard for an introvert like me to latch onto or appreciate what the whole thing was for in the first place. Projecting onto the wall of an unknown future...sharing a little window to what this particular fashion tuning fork had to say about where we were headed and what we might be wearing when we got there. So, nowadays, when a show comes along and quietly gives me ideas about things (and not just what critics are conflicted about, which can be very LOUD indeed), it’s profound.
The latest Prada show, courtesy of Mrs. Prada and Raf Simons, that made me feel jazzed again about my own clothes…especially my own gold Prada shoes, which are probably a decade old🏆.
And that’s exactly what happened when I first saw the fall 2023 Prada show, which took place in Milan about two weeks ago. I was waiting for the end of the Paris shows, which concluded this week, to see if another collection would usurp what I thought would be the focus of today’s missive. But even though there were others that were beautiful and transporting and (good) strange, I kept coming back to this one. For reasons I think matter to everyone—not just a fashion person.
Or perhaps it’s just ONE reason: that this particular Prada show made me want to wear my own clothes again…albeit a tiny bit differently.
Like most people, I’ve had periods when I’ve loved clothes…like, LOOOVE. And for the most part, I enjoy getting dressed, especially now after a few years when doing so seemed almost pointless. But I’ve also had periods when I’ve absolutely hated it. Periods when I wasn’t sure who I was and going into my closet was akin to a wilderness exhibition in a blizzard with no gear. Opening those closet doors gave me an ache in my stomach, a feeling that could compel anyone to wear the same track pants day in and day out. But seeing this show gave me the good feeling…the one that reminds me, sometimes in unexpected ways, what I love about fashion and what I love about clothes…my clothes, it seems.
The boxy cocoa Prada blazer was nothing ground-breaking, but with a gray sweater and blinding white mini, it felt so fresh and made me happy I bought this Zara blazer a size up. The silk skirt, which is more of a bone color, is ‘90s Ann Taylor. And the loafers are vintage Gucci.
To be clear, this show wasn’t revolutionary or sensational. But it was powerful. Because it was essentially a lineup rooted in basics…or super basics (something Prada is known for). As a lifelong disciple of Miuccia Prada—her appearances in skirts and a big smile at the end of every show literally feeds me—I was hesitant of her joining forces with Raf Simons. While he is definitely in my top five (Philo and Westwood are up there, too:), I wasn’t convinced Prada needed his particular take, a signature merging of spare and subversive. And, for me, Prada is (nearly) perfect on its own, expanding and contracting in this timeless formula of Italian grandmothers, wardrobe workhorses, and a hint of fantasy. Prada IS iconic—mostly because it is art that is deeply rooted in the MOMENT of life, real life. As if to say, women have real practical shit to do—to build to break to thrive—but that doesn’t mean they can’t wear a cartoonish necklace or a gold-metallic sandal with a platform as thick as a snow tire.
Amen to that.
So, what’s heroic to me about this show isn’t just the clothes and the intermingling of two revolutionary designers with legendary visions, it’s that the show is simple. It features some greatest hits and even greater reminders that emerging from a long hibernation, whether it’s a pandemic or a maternity leave or a whole LIFE, that there is beauty and strength in the simple things. The things that last and challenge you to think differently about how they might carry you through another season of personal curveballs. I am not the same person I was three years ago. I honor that woman who closed yet another life-altering chapter back there, but I also honor the essence of me blossoming in this moment, someone who carries on and goes to meetings and also loves to power thrift her way through Palm Springs (where I am right now😬).
Some CB closet classics newly caffeinated thanks to the latest Prada show: Old Céline blazer, vintage cashmere Jil Sander polo top (a gift from my mom around 2005…thanks, Mom!), five-year-old Rachel Comey pants, and Camper sandals (which are SOOOO comfy!).
Originally this piece was going to be a punch list of my favorite styling hacks from a month of fashion shows. But once I started looking at the shows, I realized I only wanted to write about this one (even if most of the opinions out there were that it was boring). Because ultimately, it compelled me to dive into my own closet and pull out things I already had (boxy blazers and gallery WHITE), putting colors together I hadn’t thought of before (cocoa and gray, dusty pink and orange), and just getting dressed with more energy…Big YES Energy. I will never be a pointy flat person. It’s just not me, and while I liked them in the show, I find them fussy and awkward. But the other parts felt fresh in a functional, almost deconstructed way (I also loved the triangle-shaped Lady bags—a signature luxury good born of Mrs. Prada but with the abstract touch of Simons). There was nothing in this show that made me feel like I needed to run out and buy a bunch of new stuff. Sometimes that’s an energizing feeling. But most of the time, it can feel impulsive and reckless.
And these days, I don’t want to feel reckless. I want to feel rooted…rooted in a way that gives me permission to play…to take chances. Maybe in a beautifully cut navy suit christened with a giant hideous corsage pin on my lapel. Prada had that vibe…and it turns out, so does my own closet…xxCb
“I want to feel rooted…rooted in a way that gives me permission to play…to take chances.” This! Words to live by!
Inspiring Christene, on all levels. Love digging through my closet, mixing, matching, rediscovering❤️