WAIST UP/WAIST DOWN
‘Waist up/Waist down’ focuses on the primary zones of the body onto which the two designers project their narrative attention – the waist up for Schiaparelli and the waist down for Prada. Schiaparelli’s emphasis largely stems from the social needs of her day – specifically, the demands of Café Society. As women were usually seated in restaurants, decoration from the waist down was essentially redundant. Thus she devoted attention to jackets – often elaborately embroidered by Maison Lesage – that enhanced the visibility and photographic possibilities of the wearer. Prada’s interest in the area from the waist down is personal and instinctive. Believing that part of the body to be both dynamic yet grounded, she focuses on the dramatic possibilities of skirts. For Prada, skirts articulate and accentuate the natural vitality and spontaneity of the lower body. More than mere canvases for adornment, they provide her with an array of expressive sculptural forms and silhouettes that reflect an iconography of feminine identity.