For spring, Miuccia Prada took a time machine to America’s past and found inspiration in muscle cars and rockabilly girls. And get ready to roll back the DeLorean dial again this May, when the Costume Institute offers an even deeper history lesson with an exhibition, the follow-up to its blockbuster tribute to Alexander McQueen, that pits the label’s archives against that of Elsa Schiaparelli, the legendary Surrealist-era designer.
But it isn’t all nostalgia at Prada. Last night saw a nod to the future, a flashing-neon presentation of spring 2012 that only Tokyo can pull off. To personally introduce the men’s and women’s collections to Japan, Prada invited more than 500 guests—including the requisite blogger bunch—to the top-secret event, whisking them away in private cars to Shin Shuna, an industrial neighborhood on Tokyo Bay. There, Rem Koolhaas’s OMA/AMO think tank and creative team 2X4 transformed a warehouse into a retro-futuristic version of the Las Vegas Strip, filled with neon signs and hot-pink styrofoam.
The runway remix—an increasingly popular way to reach out to cashed-up, fashion-hungry Asian markets—played off all the themes of the collection, taking the hot rods and Hollywood imagery to another level with video displays of driving scenes from great works of film, as well as real-life classic cars, including a bright pink Cadillac El Dorado. American classics in modern Tokyo through an Italian lens—globalization at its finest.