Critics’ Picks: A model in wolf’s clothing

Prada and Rem Koolhaas collaborate on a magical look book

Topics: Critics' Picks, Our Picks,

Critics' Picks: A model in wolf's clothing

Prada: The Fall/Winter 2009 Look Book

The autumn ’09 look book from Prada — downloadable here — is pretentious and arty, all right: You’d expect no less from a collaboration between one of the most cerebral fashion houses and AMO, the design and research arm of Rem Koolhaas’ OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture).

But even if clothes are meant to live a life on the body, there’s something to be said for inventing fanciful lives for them on the page, which is what AMO has done here. This series of Photoshop collages and scribbled-over images has been designed to highlight — and, naturally, sell — Prada’s fall 2009 collection. In most of the pictures, we can actually see the clothes, which is nice: There are lots of softly tailored geometrics in foresty, mushroomy tones, with leather hip waders thrown in for hilarity’s sake. Taken together, the images here make up a surreal storybook fairy tale filled with modern, magical Stuff to Buy: The shoulders of a trim men’s jacket are exaggerated and emboldened with a superimposed chalk outline, à la David Byrne circa “Stop Making Sense.” A model in a fur dress wears a wolf’s head, its eyes gazing at us with a quizzical expression.

“What does it all mean?” our wolf friend is asking, maybe because he hasn’t bothered to read the look book’s explanatory cover blurb: “AMO’s journey through the concepts of the collection: untouched nature, looming crises and urban decadence become graphic themes, and meet fashion in an unedited imaginary.” An unedited imaginary what? I’m sure you’re asking, as I am. Now we know why the wolf in the fur dress looks so confused. But no matter: If Prada’s look book is, conceptually, a bit shaky, it still works as dreamy, beautiful advertising, a mini piece of Prada you can download for free.

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Check out recent Critics’ Picks:

“Troll’s Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tails,” by Laura Miller

HBO’s “Boy Interrupted,” by Heather Havrilesky

Michelle Forbes on “True Blood,” by Laura Miller

Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion” on DVD, by Andrew O’Hehir

Stephanie Zacharek is a senior writer for Salon Arts & Entertainment.

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