At the Russian Federation Pavilion in Venice, the American writer and artist Alice Bucknell’s film Swamp City imagines the Florida Everglades as a luxury nature resort for high-tech eco-tourism in a near future reality of severe climate disruption.
Miu Miu AW2021-22
Cross-Country in Cortina
Photography by Zora Sicher
As is often the case in Miuccia Prada’s universe, any easy reading of narrative or reference was thrown off at every turn with her Autumn Winter 2021-22 collection for Miu Miu. In an effort to uplift the spirits against the tenor of the times, Mrs. Prada’s instinct brought courage back to clothing in an Italian alpine adventure captured in the snow-covered slopes of Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomites mountain range by David Sims’ alumni Johnny Dufort and the Russian stylist Lotta Volkova, neither strangers to a witty (yet tasteful) challenge. Brooklyn-based photographer Zora Sicher documented the lookbook and film project in an exclusive portfolio of behind-the-scenes imagery revealed here.
In a transition from indoor to outdoor dressing, Mrs. Prada approached the season in a state of mind informed by her own alpine experiences and of the collective strength of women, envisaging them stomping through the snow across mountains, their eyes squinting as if emerging from hibernation. Opting for unusual layering, light slip dresses or crochet bra-lets were played against rugged and ungainly outerwear: garments that provoke multiple readings for myriad occasions in the event of a return to normality —whatever that might be.
As the bright wintersun hit padded quilting, fuzzy mohair knits and satin slips, a displaced sense of immediacy brought on by Dufort’s use of flash and his unsettling sense of perspective questioned the relationship between the diverse cast of Miu Miu girls and the blank canvas of snow around them, as if clothing takes on a new meaning outdoors after all these months. The collection notes recounted the production of the video in the snow as incongruous, challenging and brave. Whilst citing ‘bravery through courage and aggression’ on one hand, a more effervescent experience appeared behind the scenes, as Sicher captured with much candour, revealing a high-spirited playfulness so synonymous with Volkova’s styling and Prada’s wilful expression of youth at Miu Miu – a collection named, as it were, after her childhood nickname.
After joining Steven Meisel for Miu Miu’s spring campaign, Volkova’s ‘runway’ styling debut excelled in its combination of flirtatiousness and bombastic layering — leaving behind the demure sweetness of Miu Miu’s recent past. Her fresh-faced models braved the elements in full puffer ensembles over crochet knit lingerie wearing embellished gloves, crochet balaclavas and big-foot faux fur boots as though they’d stepped out of a Rubartelli photograph of Veruschka in the 1960’s. Yet amidst the candy quilting, a smattering of razor-sharp spikes, flashing crystals and studded felt offered an aggressive glamour that affirmed the overarching celebration of technique and craft behind each element in the collection. Fun and games aside, it was a clear reminder that Miu Miu’s coquettish, tomboy identity is lightyears from Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons introverted, cerebral world.
Words by Alexandra Castle
Photography by Zora Sicher
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