People have been arguing what fashion is since the word was invented., It's a business, an art form, self-expression, etc, etc. It's not like it matters much, once you saw the "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations" exhibit going on at the Costume Institute. Ever since I'd heard the news back in October or something I've been laying on the floor and crying and playing The Hunger Games Adventure because Schiaparelli and Prada are two of my favourite female designers. They have revolutionized fashion with quirky ideas like shoe-hats and skirts covered in lip prints. Talk about eccentric.
Elsa Schiaparelli was one of the major fashion players in the 1930s. Some people who had bitchy cat fights with her(ahem, Coco Chanel) calls her the "Italian who makes clothes." Others call Elsa an innovative visionaire. Either way, she was one of the main designers who used surrealism — putting things at weird places to make it look different — in her work. Resulting products are the Shoe Hat and the Lobster Dress. Avant-garde before her times. Pretty sure that if Elsa is still designing today she would have heel-less shoes and cage-like dresses in her collections. After all, this is the woman who designed jackets with doll hands as belts, glowing brooches and plastic necklaces with metal insects. Bad taste or not, you have to admit that she got guts.
Miuccia Prada, on the other hand, is a completely different story. She inherited her grandpa's Italian luggage company in the late 70's and started designing clothes in the late 80's. She had never study fashion history, though she did bought a lot of vintage clothes. Being a feminist, Miuccia at first felt uncomfortable working in an industry that tells women they are not flawless or perfect. But luckily for us, she eventually found ways to turn her collections into armors. My favourites? Those paillette dresses and coats from fall 2011 and everything embroidered-and-studded from fall 2009.
Other their aesthetics, there are tons of striking similarities between Elsa and Miuccia's collections. Look at the Prada skirt with bugs all over it from fall 1999. Now look at this Schiaparelli necklace crawling with bugs. Eureka! Alas! Did you see it? No? How about now? Still not convinced? Alright, you blundering idiot, now look at how both designers experiment with a myriad of patterns and fabrics. Oh, and add bold colours to the list(Schiaparelli's shocking pink, ring any bell?) If you still don't see it, just go to the exhibition. Or look at it online. Whatever. Then come back and tell me what you think.