Milan Fashion Map: Fondazione Prada


If you want to enjoy the timeless collections of Prada, admire beautiful dresses and suits it is better for you to stand in front of one of the boutiques at Vittorio Emanuele Gallery.. because here you will not find them. This is not a place devoted to the achievements of the Prada brand, contrarily it is a place that uses these achievements in order to present interesting creators of the contemporary art. Fondazione Prada is part of a specific type of brand promotion, where without showing their products, it is yet another kind of advertisement for the duo Prada-Bertelli. Some might say that all collections, especially the accessories such as handbags, shoes, and belts, from which it all began, are the works of art themselves. However, Prada, moving to another level in 1995, creates a foundation focused on art: the controversial, electrifying, strange. Art, which in no way goes hand in hand with the famous Saffiano bag. Here, in a place created by great designers and strategists of fashion industry the art and the fashion is separated by a fine line.

Fondazione Prada guided by their instincts selects artists interesting, unusual and daring, popular around the world. Not so long ago, their choice was our compatriot Goshka Macuga who by her exhibition astonished Muccia Prada herself last winter. However, during my visit, there were available three exhibitions by other artists: William N. Copley, Bette Saar and Edward Kienholtz, each distinct, depicting different subjects. These art presentations may not be easily understood and perhaps because of that can be undervalued. Certainly, many tourists are attracted by the popular brand name. After all, Italian galleries such as Florentine or Milanes are so rarely identified with contemporary art, hence there is no wonder this place, situated outside the center of the Milan, can pleasantly surprise some, others neatly disappoint. It is important to check the current exhibitions before deciding to visit it. There’s a reason I used the word “controversial” earlier.

(Discount tickets cost 8€, the normal 10€. It is not required to book in advance, however, tickets are available online. Closed on Tuesdays. You can get there by M3 (Loddi) but there is still a 15-minute walk, bus line 65 pulls almost in front of the buildings of the Foundation.)

Far from heaven, but close to fall (2002)


Let’s get real. Fall. It is not always sunny and gold. More often along with colorful leaves, it brings the promise of early winter and icy November evenings. This is the time of a year when you skip on your friends with some lame excuses and get cozy under the warm blanket. What to see? For Christmas films, it is still too early, and the ones set in summer would only cause unnecessary annoyance. There are a few titles that effectively can fight the autumn blues, one of them is “Far from Heaven”.

Like many American productions, this is a remake of black-and-white film ”All that Heaven allows” from 1955. It tells the story of Cathy, a role model for women in the fifties, full-time wife, and mother who serves her freshly baked apple pie with a forced yet spotless smile. In return, her successful husband gives her a kiss on the cheek like you give to your little daughter. This is a portrait of a woman who, like her black servant, sweeps under the rug all the disappointments and humiliations. A woman, who seems to have everything while being on top of a small-town society. However, her marital problems carefully masked during the evening dinners and cocktail parties, will soon come to light when Cathy catches her husband Frank cheating on her with another man. Lonely, she seeks for understanding, which she finds on her own property. Between her and her black gardener establishes a bond of understanding, a need for acceptance and attention.

Production in subtle but firm way paints the colorful background of the story, but it is not a reference to beautifully presented colors of the fall here. The mid-fifties is a time of awakening of capitalist America, the belief in the American Dream, racial segregation, Rosa Parks’ arrest and the rigid social conventions. In such realities the struggles of the main characters must remain within the four walls, the public is still too stupid to distinguish homosexuality from the disease or racism from tolerance, although they have just defeated Nazism, they see themselves as a master race in relation to blacks.

In its classic melodrama framework, without excessive pathos though, the film tries to focus on two threads that properly developed, could provide the plot for two different movies. However, the director Todd Haynes consistently leads both by what hundred-minute session leaves us with a slight saturation deficit. Hollywood still hasn’t used the theme of unfulfilled husband, a man with a whole range of emotions and weaknesses. Unfortunately, it prefers to replicate the template and present the silhouette of a powerful ”Eisenhower” guy, who has numerous affairs in the city, while his naive wife in a suburban home is waiting at the set table.

The film deals with quite an interesting topic, and in spite of his genre, it presents the emotions in a very frugal way, not declining the strength of the viewers’ reaction, nonetheless. Sometimes a whisper or just one look is louder than screaming and or sea of tears and this film proves it. It chokes emotions in its own throat, as its characters are forced to do, too.








CATHY: That was the day I stopped believing in the wild ardor of things. Perhaps in love, as well. That kind of love. The love in books and films. The love that tells us to abandon our lives and plans, all for one brief touch of Venus. So often we fail at that kind of love. The world just seems too fragile a place for it. And of every other kind, life remains full. Perhaps it’s just we who are too fragile.