Prada presents yesteryear opulence

BY DANIELA PETROFF AP Fashion Writer Published:

MILAN (AP) -- The Prada finale was a long luxurious mink coat with ample collar and cuff like the ones the Hollywood divas used to wear in the 1950's. Underneath the model wore a sheer see-through silk dress.

It was only the showiest item of the winter collection presented Thursday evening, based on yesteryear luxury, from the opulent coats to the gilded gowns to the mink wraps.

A daring move in these days when ostentation, particularly at the expense of our furry friends, is more than an eyebrow raiser. Earlier Thursday, animal activists disrupted the Just Cavalli show, which included fur mainly for accessories and trimmings, holding up signs which read, "Your fashion is our death."

But Miuccia Prada season after season has a fashion vision, and follows it through regardless.

This round she revisits vintage couture in a contemporary context.

"You can no longer be decadent. Modernism forces you to intellectual restrictions. I started out with a romantic idea and ended up with crude elegance," said the designer, speaking to reporters ahead of the show, of her winter 2013-2014 collection.

Coats have extra wide cuffs and are often belted at the waist and flared toward the bottom. Skirts come in wide ballerina styles, as do some the dresses. The jumper dress is another 1950s look, which Prada revisits, even for evening, not to mention the many coat dresses in the collection.

Totally Prada, and anything but retro, was the uneven hemline (one side much longer than the other) that the designer used for daytime belted sheaths as well as gilded, belted gowns.

Fabrics ranged from coarse tweeds to shimmering metallic materials, plus leather and fur. Crocodile takes on new importance when used not only for bags, but also for skirts and even a suit.

The latest Prada shoe, either a sandal or a bootie, has a thick high heel, but a heavy rubber sole.

The sides of the voluminous bags in tweed and leather, including crocodile, were folded in such a way to give the impression of a feline face, perhaps inspired by a video of a cat that was part of the background of the show.