Miuccia Prada's About Face

The designer's Spring collection for Prada featured sporty motifs, bras on outerwear, and massive faces on just about everything.

Britney Spears is not the first person you think of when wandering between the stucco-covered, old-world facades of Milan -- the Italian fashion capital where the upscale worker-bees wander around in bespoke suits.

But inside Prada’s Spring/ Summer 2014 ready-to-wear show, which showed there on Thursday evening, Spears’s new single, “Work Bitch,” blasted over the loud speaker. It set the tone for another scene altogether: a mad world created in a fit of inspiration by Miuccia Prada, with the backup of six graffiti artists and muralists who created a louder-than-life set to serve as a backdrop for the playful clothes.

Images from the muralists explored ideas of femininity and power in murals that were actually inspired by political wall art from Mexican muralists, such as Diego Luna. The show space was set up as a streetscape, centered around an island where the expressionistic art played loud and colorful, like the clothes.

Prada dubbed the project “In The Heart of the Multitude.” It was a collection filled with loud primary colors, seemingly inspired by the garish colors of soccer uniforms – think a red sporty dress over a green ribbed vest-style T-shirt --complete with plays on footballer socks worn by the models. The stripes that might run down the side of a player’s shorts were featured across waistlines of dresses or around necklines.

Then there were giant faces emblazoned across fun, furry coats and sporty dresses – reminiscent of political art and street art -- that looked as if they were made using a touch of left-over Christmas tree tinsel. Faces like Pierre Mornet’s (one of the six artists) Trois Femmes could be found turning the corner of a skirt or looking the viewer face on from the center of a dress.

Sparkling brassieres were a cheeky version of a belly dancer’s bra, but worn over dresses or stitched onto winter coats. But then again, Prada’s woman for spring is not a girl who spends hours worrying about her underwear. She is here to play -- wearing football-inspired socks-turned-leggings that ran like a dancer’s warm-up outfit from ankle to knee.

Prada featured a play on the brassier throughout, in cut-out shapes included as a swirl of color in a series of sporty looking dresses, some seemingly bejeweled in sparkling necklace-like patterns, or sweatshirts where the pattern of a bra was cut out in different bold shades.

The collection was a walking update on a sort of pop-art inspired, political-art themed show, with playful ornamentation that worked on one level as think-piece on women and politics -- and a larger commentary about women and what they actually want to wear.