Prada’s spring 2012 campaign casts various high profile models as iconic film archetypes on some sort of existential road trip through 60s Americana. Sounds like someone’s been talking to Don Draper.

Shot by the immensely talented Steven Meisel, the photos that have been released so far show models outfitted in retro inspired clothing, leaning against classic cars at one very glamorous gas station. Meisel’s photography is so great that I’m willing to overlook the fact that none of these women are actually putting gas in their cars, which would no doubt cause a honking, angry pile-up in real life. According to Prada’s press release, these are the ideas behind it:

Bathed in sunlight. Fueled by optimism. Girls and cars stop and stare at the future in this Technicolor mise-en-scéne of desire…the gas station is cast as a central symbol in this post-modern crossroads of new horizons and economic fulfillment, a stage set where fashion, fantasy and the promise of new
discoveries collide…[Meisel’s] low angle and rich coloration emphasize the power and positivism in the campaign and collection message.

Positivism? I had no idea Prada was so into the empirical sciences! Maybe their next campaign will feature Auguste Comte.

Jokes aside, isn’t it a little bit late for this kind of campaign? It made a lot of sense in the 60s when these things all held true, but now it just makes me kind of wistful for a time when the wealthy were taxed at 90% and the American dream had yet to emit its final death rattle. If there’s anything I’ve learned from watching Mad Men, it’s that nostalgia for some golden era can never beat optimism about the future. Then again, our future seems pretty bleak right now, so many nostalgia is the way to go.

Regardless, the photos look great. Here are the rest of them:

(Via Fashioncopious)