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…
…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.
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.
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.