When we last left off, I was just about the enter the Prada/Miu Miu/Helmut Lang outlet store. (To read parts 1 and 2 of this adventure, go here and here.)
I had low expectations; in the past, the only thing I've found here was a nice but plain navy top, several sizes too big, which I bought with plans of having it tailored. More than a year later, I still haven't actually done that yet, because to give your tailor your Prada requires an awfully large amount of trust.
Anyway. Way back in early 2003, Miuccia Prada showed her fall/winter 2003 collection and I'd loved it instantly. She'd borrowed a vintage print from British company Holiday & Brown and made a gorgeous green and pink patterned silk that I loved the second I saw it. And I mean loved: If I see it in a magazine, I have to cut out the picture. And when I saw Prada's fantastic Waist Down exhibition in Shanghai last year (an occasion where I actually met Miuccia Prada herself, and immediately declared I would not wash my hand again), I spent most of my time in the room where they featured this skirt.
(You'll be happy to know that I did finally wash my hand--you know, for hygiene's sake--but that meeting still ranks among the highlights of my fashion life, along with running around Beijing with Lanvin's Alber Elbaz for a weekend.)
At the time the collection was launched, I was barely scrimping by on my meager salary and full-price Prada was absolutely inconceivable (I bet even a keychain would have been excessive to my bank account). I've searched for pieces from the collection regularly on eBay, but without much luck. I'd pretty much given up hope. I think you can see where this is going.
Imagine the near heart attack I had when I walked into the Prada outlet and there on the hanger was the Holiday & Brown-print silk dress. I could not believe my eyes. They had my size. It fit like a glove. (There was also a pencil skirt version, though my favorite piece, the circle skirt, had just sold out.) Of course I bought the dress immediately, along with another beautiful silk dress in a muted tie-dye print and a geometric Miu Miu skirt. I couldn't stop beaming; I had to keep peeking into my shopping bag all afternoon to see if it was really there.
Some people might see these pieces as "last year's Prada", but not me. I think Miuccia Prada is a genius and her clothes—no matter how memorable—will definitely stand the test of time. I imagine passing this dress on to my daughter one day, and her looking at me and saying, "Mom, even though your irresponsible spending meant I couldn't afford to go to college, this dress really does make it all worthwhile."
*Sighs happily.* The end.