Now, I know that fashion people are busy and all, and I know that every season there seems to be a star collection that everybody who’s anybody simply must have, but really? Four magazines in one month? And two versions of the same magazine? Give me a break. I don’t expect rival publications to be chit-chatting with one another about their cover shots, but how hard could it be for some important executive at Elle in England to call up some important executive at Elle in Sweden and say, “Hey! Miu Miu is on our August cover. So please don’t use it on yours. Thanks.” I don’t know if important executives actually say please and thank you, but you get the point: same team, right?
The press people at Miu Miu had to have some idea about what was going on, and in their defense, why would they care? The more covers, the better, for them. Lorraine Candy, the editor-in-chief of UK Elle said that normally, press offices make sure rival magazines don’t choose the same garment for their covers, and fashion news writer Imogen Fox said that this redundancy is rare because of the number of potential outfits brought to cover shoots and because press offices maintain a “delicate UN-style political balance” between publications to prevent these overlaps. Well, that sounds pretty smart, in theory, but it’s clearly not working in practice. The same thing happened just four months later with a gold, sparkly, $35,000 Balmain mini dress, only it made it onto to the cover of not four, but seven magazines, including not two, but three versions of Vogue. Now, the Prada Group (who owns Miu Miu) is at it again and this time, I have to say, things are getting a bit ridiculous.
I like to say that the spring 2011 Prada collection was akin to Lady Gaga’s newest single, “Born this Way”—both kind of sucked, and yet both went straight to the top of the charts. Kidding. Well, sort of. The Prada collection was actually pretty awesome for the most part, but the Lady Gaga song… Not so much. While Lady Gaga may have contributed to the popularity of “Born this Way” by wearing facial prosthetics that make her look like an anorexic alien and producing a music video that includes a sparkly unicorn, a slimy, Photo Booth mirror effect birthing scene and a mega-lame introductory narrative set to equally lame background music evocative of a low budget 1980s sci-fi flick, Prada went a different route: the 48 magazine covers route. Yes, you read that correctly: Prada’s spring 2011 ready-to-wear collection has graced the cover of not four, not seven, but 48 magazines. Coincidentally, i-D Magazine produced four covers for its spring issue; Lady Gaga is on one of them and Prada is on another. Also coincidentally, Anna Wintour, the almighty power-editor-in-chief of American Vogue, wore Prada on the cover of WSJ. magazine recently, but her magazine is one of the very few to not show this season’s Prada on a cover yet (Vogue China, Vogue Nippon and Vogue Girl Korea all did, though).
So, what’s to conclude from all of this?
- Miuccia Prada has an internal body magnet that attracts kick ass PR people.
- Or, Miuccia Prada kicked her PR people in the ass after last year’s Miu Miu collection covered only seven mags.
- Or, Miuccia Prada is actually in the Mafia (she is Italian, after all) and intimidated major magazine editors around the world into putting her spring collection on their covers by threat of torture.
- Or, everyone in the fashion industry actually really does like those Charlie Sheen type shirts covered in bananas, those fluorescent dresses that look like a mix between prison uniforms and hospital scrubs and those striped fur stoles dyed colors so lurid they make your eyes burn. Naaahhh. No way.
What’s really to conclude from all of this?
- This isn’t a coincidence or a case of great minds thinking alike. This is good PR and a case of great minds not using their great minds to come up with something original.
- Or, this is a perfect example of the hierarchy of power that exists in the fashion industry, with global brands, like Prada, and global publications, like Vogue and Elle, laying down the bureaucratic ground rules for what everyone else will subsequently wear and print.
- Or, this is proof that fashion, contrary to what recent years have suggested, is still about fitting in, and not about standing out.
- Or, all three of the former. *Sigh.*
In any case, though I adore almost every pair of shoes from the ubiquitous line (see the reference in my last blog), and the campaign video is one of the very few fashion films that can hold my attention for a full 60 seconds, I’ll be glad to see the collection go, if only to give someone else a chance at landing 49 covers and putting Ms. Prada to shame. I’m looking at you, Marc Jacobs. Make those polka dots work.