Alexander Fury: A fashion house with two labels is dodgy – unless it’s Prada, natch
Wear, what, why, when?
Alexander Fury is a fashion journalist, author and critic. He is fashion editor of the Independent, i and the Independent on Sunday newspapers and was awarded the inaugural Editorial Intelligence Award for Fashion Commentator of the Year 2014-15. He was named one of InStyle magazine's 20 most powerful people in fashion in 2015.
Sunday 03 November 2013
I'm a snob. Maybe you've figured that out if you've looked at my general fashion tastes – Prada good, Primark bad. I always remember the words of Isabella Blow: “I don't like crap. I like craftsmanship.”
That's also my issue with diffusion lines. Diffusion lines, for those who don't remember the 1990s quite so clearly, were “accessible” designer clothes before the high street got its act together and drafted in people like Christopher Kane, Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney to knock themselves off.
I never really bought into diffusion. The entire premise – watering-down a designer's vision so it could be mass-produced in cheaper fabric and simpler cuts – is antithetical to everything I love about high fashion. Namely, the quotient of craftsmanship over crap.
So, a fashion house with two labels is viewed as decidedly dodge. The only one that works, honestly, is Miu Miu. The name comes from Miuccia Prada's childhood nickname, and that's how the brand should always be seen – as a younger, light-hearted take on Prada. Prada with a giggle.
However, Miu Miu is no laughing matter. It's a luxury brand unto itself. Some people don't even twig that the two are not only related, but helmed by the same woman. That's a mark of the power of Mrs Prada. The phrase “diffusion” must never be mentioned: the official house patois dubs it a “sister brand”.
Miu Miu's latest ad campaign features French actresses Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, co-stars of the Palme d'Or-winning Blue Is The Warmest Colour. The label is also launching a fragrance with Coty in 2015. This is no mere sister act.
Alas, I and the rest of the male fashion fraternity continue to mourn the closure of Miu Miu's menswear in 2006. Cultish was its appeal. Skinny were its trews. Mrs Prada, hear my plea. Bring back Miu Miu for men – I look dreadful in a pencil skirt.
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