”It just goes to show you that no matter how crazy and radical and fashioned out you are when you’re young, everybody looks good young.” John Waters
Text by: Riccardo Slavik
Just when we thought Miuccia Prada had lost her knack for taking elements of ‘bad taste’ and turning them into Fashion ( see our piece on Ugly in Fashion) she has surprised us with her latest showing for Miu Miu, a romp through 50s/60s surly rockers, with overdrawn eyeliner, ratted hair and questionable dress sense.
This particular version of the Rebel Child has some definite roots in the work of the late photographer Kerlheinz Weinberger, whose seminal book, Rebel Youth explored the lives of Swiss working class Halbstarken, a group of a few dozen youth he called “the unusuals” (literally, Halbstarke translates as “the half-strong” ), possibly Switzerland’s first subculture. As cult fimaker John Waters said about Weinberger’s work ‘There was this tiny, tiny group of people that looked like that, and thank god Weinberger noticed, because they really needed somebody to notice. When you dress like that, you’re not trying to blend in. No one would probably gawk or give them trouble because in those days people were so polite. I think that exhibitionists need a voyeur, and he documented them like rare butterflies and he did a beautiful, beautiful job… ‘
The girls in the Miu Miu show are like Swiss Rebel butterflies, disheveled, mis-matched, customized yet intent on detail, mixing classsically elegant, lady-like items ( you can’t really go all out on 50s subcultures and forget the bottom line) with bike chains, denim, oversized vinyl coats, strappy heels with fluffy socks, hair so ratted it appears on the verge of breaking off. They look more like characters from a John Waters movie ( see Cry Baby, Female Trouble, or even Hairspray) than classic rocker chicks, they belong to a subculture so self-absorbed it borders on being a cult, they strut, high on the fumes of their hairspray, conscious of their beauty and their power.
‘When I was young, first there were juvenile delinquents and then there were hippies, then punks, then gangster, but there’s nothing now because everyone is in front of their computer. And now if you’re a rebel, you’re a hacker. But there’s no hacker look. What is hacker chic? I can’t think of it, you know? Bad posture from being in front of the computer?’ John Waters in an interview about Karlheinz Weinberger