Let's Discuss: The Animal Instincts Of Steven Meisel For Prada

Ondria Hardin, Kelly Mittendorf and Frida Gustavsson for Steven Meisel/Prada
Photo: Courtesy of Prada

Where does Steven Meisel live? In some sort of fairy land where Miuccia Prada dresses little nymphs in bright clothes and then everyone joins hands and frolics in a blissful, sun-dappled patch of the wilderness? We think so. Because only by the skillful hand of Meisel—who's an old pro at shooting monumental fashion campaigns—can Prada dress up girls in literal animal skins and feather prints and make it look like a playful romp in a wonderland we ardently wish we were invited to join. Let's break it down.

First off, there's the headwear. What initially appeared to be some sort of fur-covered swim-cap may be some sort of skull accessory. It may have been alive once, and it certainly should not be used to prevent the wearer from suffering any sort of weather indignities. The image isn't exactly clear on whether it is an earmuff situation or straps, but it doesn't matter because it comes in three delightful colors (we will take ours in teal, please). On the runway, the hats appeared more like Beeker-esque fuzz balls than skulleys, but we rather like this shorn, Amelia Earhart-as-a-furry look instead.

Secondly, each girl seems to be wearing a dress inspired by scales. Ondria on the right seems to be harkening back to a goldfish, Kelly is displaying that the golden color seen on the runway has manifested as a finch-like yellow, and then you have Frida lounging, imitating a koi. Prada sent loads of translucent plastic scales down the runway, but we had no idea that it would play out in this fresh-faced-flapper-look-chilling-on-a-couch vibe that Meisel is tapping in to.

Each of the girls are clutching bags of dyed reptile, and did you miss Frida's insane, knee-high reptile accented boots? Clearly you couldn't have, because they are green and front and center in the image just asking you, WHY, WHY ARE WE COMBINING ANIMALS HERE. It is like an exquisite corpse made of animal skin, where fur meets scales and then some reptile comes in, to cobble together a weird humanoid creature that is frolicking about, hoping to cast spells on us or nap on our couches. Which we are OK with, because while most of these animalic combinations are only found in sketchy Grade D Chinese restaurants, here, it looks rather bright and fall-friendly.

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