Shoes are cars, but no one has made that point quite like Miuccia Prada, the heiress to the Milanese fashion house that bears her name, with her spring-summer 2012 collection of footwear inspired by the tailfins and flame paint jobs of midcentury automobiles.
The bright red and green shoes are accented with chrome and conical taillights worthy of Chrysler’s Forward Look. The outlines of classic hot-rod flame forms surmount high heels.
The shoes are only part of a wider collection of auto-inspired clothing and accessories, seen in a series of advertisements shot by the fashion photographer, Steven Meisel.
The scene in an ad is an old gas station, sketched out in Prada’s publicity copy: “Bathed in sunlight. Fueled by optimism. Girls and cars stop and stare at the future in this Technicolor mise-en-scéne of desire.”
Holding bags decorated with graphics of tumbling dice and flame accents, the models are interspersed with ’50s cars, mostly custom, including a few Chevy Bel-Airs. The Prada campaign speaks of a world bathed in optimism, if not a negligible helping of kitsch.