Because You Can: Club Tropicana

Juicy fruit jewelry and radioactive stripes.

When Miuccia Prada sent her Spring 2011 collection down the runway, she described it as “minimal baroque,” which was sort of an obtuse way to describe a collection that included everything from embroidered monkeys dancing on bananas and neon fur stoles…

Via Elle

…to ’20s-era finger-waved hairstyles and dresses that looked suspiciously like hospital scrubs.

“Jazz Age nurse’s assistant” might have been a more apt description. The collection got a standing ovation and ridiculously good reviews, but some people wondered if a collection full of monkey prints and tropical popsicle colors would be a little difficult to translate to ready-to-wear. But Miuccia’s fruit motifs and neon stripes have influenced influencers like Her Fabulousness Anna Dello Russo and Stella McCartney, and trust me when I say there is no better way to throw off any lingering winter bummers than by running around dressed like a bowl of fruit.

Let’s start with one of the greatest parts of this collection: the jewelry! Miuccia designed resin earrings featuring fruits, animals, and a silhouette inspired by jazz singer Josephine Baker’s famous banana skirt that she wore to the Folies Bergère in Paris in 1926. There were also banana earrings, Miu Miu’s favorite—she wore a pair at her show’s curtain call in Milan—and a ’50s showgirl silhouette.

Image via W magazine

But my favorite piece was this playful Carmen Miranda-esque charm bracelet featuring a cornucopia of fruits, plus a kitty and a motorcycle for good measure.

Prada’s version is $535, which could buy you a lotta pineapples. This version by Betsey Johnson also has several servings of tropical fruit (plus a toucan!) for the far more reasonable price of $135. Or try this bracelet by Venessa Arizaga—the realistic charms are so very Claudia Kishi. But half the fun of a charm bracelet is personalizing it, so my absolute favorite is this DIY version by Lulu Frost.

Lulu came up with the GENIUS idea of using fruit-shaped erasers for the charms, so your total cost for this should come to $20 (tops). Follow Lulu’s super-simple tutorial here, and make sure you mix in some non-perishables for the full-on Prada effect. Tip: collecting cute erasers is a BIG DEAL in Japan. Visit the Official Japanese Eraser Museum (yes, that is a thing) for inspiration, then search “Kawaii eraser” for more adorable cookie, bunny, and iPhone erasers than you can shake a piece of Pocky at.

And while we’re on the topic of fruit-themed jewelry DIYs (because that’s totally a topic in my world), HOW INCREDIBLE is my fellow Rookie Marie’s homemade tropical fruit headpiece?! Find some faux fruit from the floral section of the craft store, a glue gun, and a milliner’s fascinator base, and you’re in business. Chica boom!

Now on to the clothes. Here’s the thing: I’ll never be able to afford one of Prada’s gowns unless I hit the Lotto, or successfully sue after being run over by a bus. But I think what gives this collection such impact is its use of electric hits of color mixed with neutrals, and you can get that look for dirt cheap—no need to step into traffic!

Look at how well these ladies are working the solid blocks of primary colors broken up by inky black accessories.

I am most enamored of the lady on the left’s look: you can blatantly copy it in Cheap Monday’s bright stripe tank and a vintage glass bead collar.

Adding bold accessories to a neutral base works too. Start with a striped T-shirt and skirt like Susie Bubble (Forever 21 has megacute options in the Prada-esque electric green or shocking pink). Add an armful of popsicle-colored bangles, a bright clutch, and some round shades like Vintage Virgin, and you’ll make ’em melt faster than sherbet in the sun.

Here’s some bonus brightspiration—my favorite backstage shot from the Prada runway show to remind you that messy hair, braces, and a big dorky grin look just as rad as the $3,000 dress.


  • lylsoy June 4th, 2012 11:18 PM

    In primary school I got into a fight because someone stole my peanut shaped eraser! I will absolutely make one of these bracelets and maybe even earrings with bananas :)
    Great article + U inspired me to color up my wardrobe= another reason to love rookie. Thanks, Leeann <3

  • thefondest June 4th, 2012 11:19 PM

    Ooh, don’t forget the new Tatty Devine collection! Totally perfect for these vibes.

  • Stromboni June 4th, 2012 11:22 PM

    i love all these pictures. they are so awesome!!! i really love the tropical colors. it really makes me want to dress with super fruity colors!

  • Tyknos93 June 4th, 2012 11:30 PM

    Oh, and if someone wanted to gift me these Charlotte Olympia pumps along with everything else on this list, you know I *cough* wouldn’t object *cough*!

  • ThePuNkR0ckeR June 4th, 2012 11:42 PM

    I love it! Now I can go to bed knowing what to wear tomorrow! thank you :)

  • Bug June 4th, 2012 11:52 PM

    Or fruity decoden! I’m not sure of the exact name, but it’s basically decorating your phone to look like a tart or cake. [there's also the straight-up sparkly kind, but I don't like that as much]

  • Caden June 5th, 2012 12:13 AM

    I actually need that dancing monkey shirt. Also, the girl in the first photo is SO beautiful.

    Caden x

  • Steph June 5th, 2012 1:04 AM

    I hate being this person, but you guys really shouldn’t plug F21, seeing as they have REALLY unethical labor conditions.

    • Anaheed June 5th, 2012 1:08 AM

      We explained our reasons for doing so here: (though of course you’re free to disagree with them).

      • Steph June 5th, 2012 1:52 AM

        Actually that doesn’t really seem to explain it… I don’t mean to be rude, but because the teenage demographic is probably the main consumers of fast fashion (where most of the unethical labor conditions are) I feel like Rookie should really try and raise some awareness for the pain and suffering that goes on behind those labels. I’m sorry if I come off as a jerk, it is just a really important issue and I feel that Rookie could really contribute to making a change.

        • Anaheed June 5th, 2012 2:01 AM

          If you know of ethical producers whose wares are widely available (since we reach a worldwide audience) and aren’t too expensive to be accessible to most of our readers, we would LOVE to hear about them, TRULY.

        • back2thepast June 5th, 2012 2:09 AM

          If you can give me a place that will sell me appealing affordable clothing, I’ll stop shopping at f21. Until then, it will have to do for my unemployed self.

        • lorobird June 6th, 2012 10:24 AM

          @Anaheed (I can’t respond directly to your post):

          I think Steph has a point, though. Everyone knows Forever 21 and labels like that already. It would make a good set of posts to talk about unethical clothing practices, and other unethical industries that feed off consumerism and the insecurities of teenage girls.

          This doesn’t just apply to fashion, but also to the beauty industry. Industries that perpetuate the idea of personal inadequacy or lack of uniqueness in order to simply sell, at the expense of the planet and human rights (of the workers).

          Apart from that, having more DIY tutorials, and more sewing-related articles that work with fashionable items (not just ‘quirky’ ones, although those are brilliant too) would be a good way of balancing it.

          I don’t know. I think she has a really good point about teen girls being a very consumerist demographic (girls that will soon have salaries and spend them in unethical industries). It’s not just about alternative places to shop, but alternative ways of being creative without shopping (and being able to critique the whole spirit of shopping).

          That said, I enjoyed this post and I will be making that bracelet. Maybe with Fimo fruits!

          • Anaheed June 6th, 2012 11:45 AM

            We have more DIYs and sewing-related tutorials than probably any non-DIY-focused website; we tell people to go to thrift stores constantly (seriously, enter “thrift” into the search bar above); we have never ever told anyone that they are personally inadequate or lack uniqueness. But also: sometimes it’s fun to shop. I don’t think anyone can be 100 percent perfect 100 percent of the time, nor should they strive to be, because that builds a kind of humorless resentment and self-righteousness that makes it difficult to enjoy life and other people.

        • lorobird June 7th, 2012 5:32 PM

          I guess the “cheer up, you are taking yourself too seriously” doesn’t just come from MRAs then. :S

          Quite disappointed to get such a response from a site of self-professed feminists, but hey, who wants social justice when you actually have to make an effort, right?

        • Anaheed June 7th, 2012 5:47 PM

          lorobird, I’m not gonna defend my personal politics to you, and I’m not asking you or anyone else to cheer up. Our goal on Rookie is not to be perfect, though — our goal is, plain and simple, to make teenage girls happy. There are a lot of different routes to that, both politically correct and not so much, and we will take a lot of them here. We don’t expect you or anybody else to be happy with everything we do or say, nor do we have any desire to please everyone.

          P.S. What’s an MRA?

    • lylsoy June 5th, 2012 1:44 AM

      Well, fact is that there are people that can’t afford buying something that is more ethical than f21 or target and more expensive. So, what should they do? Walk around naked? I don’t think anyone should be judged for the clothes they wear, especially when they don’t have a choice.

      • NotReallyChristian June 5th, 2012 7:37 AM

        Well it depends, do you think that your right to look totally rad is more important than a safe and fair working conditions for people in less affluent countries? It’s true than when you’re on a low budget it can be hard to shop ethically, but I feel that we owe it to those workers to at least *try*. There are always second-hand shops :)

      • lorobird June 6th, 2012 10:36 AM

        The options are not limited to either shopping unethically OR walk around naked. That is a false dichotomy, and doesn’t contribute a great deal to the debate.

        Many people are conscious about their shopping choices and have a very good sense of style. I can’t afford to shop expensive stuff either (H&M is pricey for me), and I still like dressing nicely. There are many ways of going around it.

        One of them, for starters, is to shop less simply as a norm and learn to play with items you already own. But there are also second hand shops (online charity shops have tons of stuff, I’ve found designer clothing there for close to nothing) and ethical shops that are somewhat expensive but very useful for basics.

        If instead of shopping four items in a month you shop one slightly more pricey item in an ethical shop like People Tree, you’re creating less waste and not exploiting workers. People Tree also do discounts for UK students:

        Have a look at the Guardian’s list:

      • lorobird June 6th, 2012 10:41 AM

        They also have a sale on at the moment in their Emma Watson line:

  • SpencerBowie June 5th, 2012 2:02 AM

    Soooooooookkkk POP!!! Love it!!!

    Everyday objects like fruit or fun symbol charms like stars or rainbows can be such a bright way to POP up an outfit…ALL THE WAY TO PARADISE!!!!

    Aloha!!!!!!! STAY JUICEY!!! :)

  • ivoire June 5th, 2012 2:02 AM

    Oh my god perfect time to mention Prada. btw she hates calling her collections minimal.

  • back2thepast June 5th, 2012 2:11 AM

    Japanese erasers are tha shitttt!!!!

  • Susann June 5th, 2012 2:20 AM

    Great article – the photos in the end are so cool!

    Fashion in Pepperland

  • saltwater June 5th, 2012 5:02 AM

    i love this, i’m on a quest to find the perfect oversized round shades.

  • TheGreatandPowerfulRandini June 5th, 2012 8:09 AM

    I love love love the last picture. She looks so young, in the best possible way!

  • Moxx June 5th, 2012 9:39 AM

    I have made earrings out of colorful things and it is awesome!
    Barbie shoes, candy, ribbons… Erasers are a good idea too! Especially food erasers.

  • phobus3000 June 5th, 2012 10:23 AM

    Eraser museum?! gotta go there

  • Marie June 5th, 2012 12:33 PM

    Hey das me ^_^

  • Helena June 5th, 2012 3:00 PM

    So cool you might be interested on knowing about this tiny shop based on barcelona, take a look ;P!

  • teenager June 5th, 2012 3:42 PM

    UM YES this is brilliant
    Japanese erasers are the best!!! I’m also obsessing over those stripes. Mmmm I really like this post, c’est faaab

  • KinuKinu June 5th, 2012 6:21 PM

    I love Japanese erasers!! I LOVE them.I have such a vast array of them(none of them EVER get used as erasers),my parents think I’m crazy.Thank you SO much for showing us that tutorial,because now they will all turn into awesome jewelry.I love this whole post!!

  • Katherine20 June 5th, 2012 6:40 PM

    Have you guys checked out the Prada exhibit at the Met in NYC? It’s awesome and very inspirational. AND they sell the banana earrings in the gift shop.


  • Ben June 5th, 2012 7:51 PM

    I loved that collection and I love Josephine baker! I knew she was an inspiration in this collection when I saw the skirts with the bannanas and the bannana clad figures embroidered on the dresses! Well I have these small little plastic fruits (two Bannanas, four apples (Two green two yellow/ red) and a peach) just for the purpose on making bannana earings but I haven’t and my ears aren’t peirced yet so I wouldn’t be able to wear them anyway. I use them as props for photos though! I really like them though, also I have a little collection of japanese erasers in my Japan/china Shrine!

  • mayaautumn June 6th, 2012 12:53 PM

    reminds me of primary school when EVERYONE had a rubber collection and it was the weirdest thing NOT to have one:) love this article

  • taste test June 6th, 2012 1:52 PM

    I absolutely love that eraser bracelet, but lots of japanese erasers are actually take-apart puzzles. they completely come apart and go back together very easily. so when you’re wiring yr little eraser charms, you should make sure that if you have a take-apart eraser you aren’t only putting the wire through a part that could pop off and leave you with a stem without a fruit or a banana without a peel. because that would be sad.

    here is a post about puzzle erasers with pictures so you can see what I mean. it’s actually from the same eraser museum you linked to. :)

  • maddiemeow June 6th, 2012 2:42 PM

    love this article!

  • tomfoolery June 6th, 2012 4:06 PM

    Also refer to Kath from Kath and Kim, noice differeunt unyusual!