I have previously approached the subject of Prada’s influences for her Autumn/Winter 2014 collection, but it was not until I watched Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972) again last night that I connected the two visually, too, not only conceptually. And I must admit that I was excited to notice the inspiration (and how the designer reinterpreted the item) behind the probably most talked about accessory and accessory styling of the season, the Prada skinny silk scarf (see below).
Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant places great importance on the costumes (especially that Petra is a fashion designer), which are used as a melodramatic metaphor and through which Fassbinder, the bitter genius of German cinema, discloses specific themes in his work, like the historical relationship between past and present. The elaborate, often over the top clothing worn by Petra, who is facing a life crisis, was designed by Maja Lemcke and, while portraying the character’s decaying state, it also evokes a strong sense of self and a fabulous constructed identity. Every scene is meticulously built, resembling still photographs, static compositions suggesting Petra’s entrapment, where darkness prevails over lightness (exquisite cinematography by Michael Ballhaus) – an atmosphere present on the Prada catwalk as well. Metallics mixed with dark tones, shearling in bold hues layered over jarring coloured organzas, graphic patterns, golden details and transparencies – the Prada collection, as always, is putting on a show, but it’s equally mind-bending, just as Fassbinder’s movie.
photos: 1,3-Style.com, Prada Fall/Winter 2014 / 2,4: The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant movie stills | Filmverlag der Autoren, Tango Film