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What had the Miu Miu girl been up to? She walked down the raised white runway of Palais d’Iéna with confidence in her prim cardigan and oversized caban, all ladylike in kitten-heel sling-backs and a matching handbag diva-ishly draped over her arm. But wait a minute. Her hair was kind of messy, and her tights were pulled up over her top, and… was she sometimes not wearing pants? “I love it! If I were younger, I would go out in panties!” Miuccia Prada said after the show, bursting into laughter.

After keeping it together through a season of subdued elegance and modest formality—the new official dressing decorum of the not-so-roaring 2020s—there were cracks in the polish as Miu Miu rang out a sombre month of shows to a frantic jazz soundtrack. Sure, all the courteous components were there: the humble muted color palette, the brave broad-shouldered tailoring, the polite jupe skirt and the played-down surface decoration. But this girl wasn’t fooling anyone.

Elegance isn’t as easy as subscribing to a trend. Dressing and acting elegantly are inevitably something that comes with age, and try as they may, thankfully the younger generation whose mindset Miu Miu reflects and affects are still living life their own way. Prada wrapped that infectious sentiment of youth into a Miu Miu collection that read like a shopping list for the fall 2023 wardrobe. You’ll just have to look elsewhere for pants.

With Brooklyn and Nicola Peltz-Beckham watching runway-side, the collection’s generational mentality was reflected by the special guests who walked the show: Emma Corrin, Amelia Grey Hamlin and Mia Goth; candid, open-hearted young people of their time who do things their own way. The message was reinforced by the genderless philosophy Prada has been introducing at Miu Miu by way of male casting (the men did bring trousers to the party).

With its brilliant sense of humor, the Miu Miu collection uplifted its audience because it cut a contrast to a season that’s reflected a less uplifting reality. (That approach was certainly true for Prada’s mainline collection in Milan, which referenced the uniforms of the people who save the world: medicine, education, security.) With that in mind, the reduced Miu Miu silhouette and quiet colors also evoked a wartime sensibility.

“A little serious,” Prada said. “I like to embrace that in this moment. Maybe I’m too careful about what’s happening around us, but I can’t leave fashion like some place of nonsense. There’s some excitement and sexiness there,” she paused. “But basically, I think we have to dress for thinking. And for starting fresh.”