Prada’s Runway of the Damned

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Published March 6, 2009

For Fall/Winter 2009, Miuccia Prada saw red. After bemusing brand loyalists with the rumpled “gold foil” frocks and tattered drawstring blouses for Spring 2009, the matron of dishabille chic offered belted, low-cut hybrid daydress and outerwear options in red, black, and grey. But don’t be fooled: while an appearance of off-key normalcy may be restored, something unsettling lurks: you could see it, in Milan, in the model’s eyes.

Moody makeup matched the clothing’s rubescent color palette: Eyelids were painted rust and copper, and the pale waifish whent to literal extremes: every face was powdered to cadaverous perfection. Hairstyles, meanwhile, were fashioned into psychotic up-dos—think grizzled top-knots a la modern-day Miss Havisham. And the most ominous aspect was that the models burned with an innate, expressionless malice, bringing to mind the ill-willed youths of Wolf Rilla’s cult sci-fi classic Village of the Damned (mind you: not John Carpenter’s 1995 remake, although we’ve seen some fearsome bowl cuts on the runways, too). We imagine those maleficent little girls—unencumbered by nourishment, sunlight, and a human soul—would grow up to look like something like Miuccia’s zombie queens.