Miu Miu’s Subversive Approach to Making Cutesy Clothes Appeal to Adults

Miu Miu is a cutesy term, but the brand is an outlier, a trend setter, a political juggernaut dressed in bows, frills, and sugary hues. Miu Miu is comparable to Dadaism, the early twentieth-century art movement that soberly hailed the breakdown of conventions yet drollily named itself after the first noises a newborn makes. Its endearing moniker and approachable appearance are a red herring. ‘What distinguishes Miu Miu and makes it so successful?’ explains Anna Ross, Associate Editor of Womenswear at WGSN. It appeals to individuals on more than just an aesthetic level.’

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Miu Miu sells a subtle signal for sophisticated irony in everything from sunglasses to perfume ads. This is a talent developed by the company’s founder, who studied political science at university and even joined the Italian Communist Party before revolutionizing Italian fashion. She’s turned the glitter and glamour so easily associated with the Mediterranean country into provocative, forceful, intelligent clothing by taking inspiration from the country’s luxury past in terms of shape and fit. Muccia Prada’s calling card has always been so-wrong-it’s-so-right – think of the industrial nylon of Prada’s luxury bags and the stiff 1980s-inspired leathers that walked Miu Miu’s autumn winter 2018 catwalk.

‘There’s a tongue-in-cheek element to Prada’s younger sister that makes it more free-spirited and fancy-free,’ adds Ross. ‘It doesn’t take itself too seriously and plays just on the right side of satire while staying stylish.’ Each season, Miuccia manages to update the Miu Miu girl while maintaining the brand’s character, which is a true tribute to a brilliant designer.’

Miu Miu’s identity is as strong today as it was when it was originally launched in 1993 as a diffusion label for the anti-conformist girl. Consider the Miu Miu bag: shiny, quilted, and generally adorned with a bejewelled buckle, but with hardware so massive that it can be seen from outer space. What about Miu Miu’s trademark glasses? Embroidered with gems and pearls, yet with a perplexing cut-out. And what about the Miu Miu dress? It’s cut skimpy to show off maximum leg and even an accidental knicker sighting, even if it’s made of rich velvet or ladylike brocade with a dinky Peter Pan collar. Or how about Miu Miu’s iconic sandals and shoes? A princess heel or a ballet pump with plenty of jewels but a leather, gingham, or studded accent. Nothing is as simple and adorable as it appears. Ida Petersson, Browns’ Womenswear Buying Director, adds, “They are one of the few companies that keeps loyal to its beginnings in both style and philosophy.” Ross confirms this, describing their house codes as “playful, feminine, and spontaneous with a small sprinkle of vintage and sport thrown in for good measure.”

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‘Miuccia has a knack of playing with the constructs of taste, brilliantly subverting colors, shapes, and patterns in ways that shouldn’t work, but work perfectly under her guidance,’ says Ross. ‘Miuccia has a knack of playing with the constructs of taste, brilliantly subverting colors, shapes, and patterns in ways that shouldn’t work, but work perfectly under her guidance.’ Her designs have a vintage feel to them, which is emphasized and resurrected through a contemporary perspective for the modern lady.’

ROSETTA CAMPAIGN FASHION has trimmed and shortened the interview.