Miuccia Prada is one of my fashion icons. Her life as well as her fashion style are full of surprises and contradictions. I tried to make a profile of the most important aspects of this incredible woman.
Facts & figures
Miuccia Prada was born on May 10, 1949 in Milan. She studied political science and was a communist party activist. She’s a trained mime and worked at Milan’s Piccolo Teatro until 1978, when she decided to join the family’s business. The luxury luggage company was founded in 1913 by her grandfather, Mario Prada. Miuccia modernized the company and updated the collection with her own designs: the black nylon Vela bags (1985). It was not until 1988 that she first launched her women’s collection. In 1992 she added Miu Miu brand to the portfolio and later, in 1995, a Prada collection for men. In the same year, the Fondazione Prada was established. The company has had financial difficulties in the past, but is now a global fashion empire valued at a reported $13 billion.
Woman in skirt
Miuccia Prada is a strong woman, who in her younger years fought for women’s rights. You might think that because of her strong character, she would prefer to dress in trousers. But no, she loves skirts. “Because they give you all the freedom you need.” In 2009 she dedicated a whole exhibition to the skirt, called “From the waist down”.
Doing things differently
She has no Muze. She has not one definition of the Prada woman. She makes her own rules and only does what she thinks is right. Expect the unexpected seems to be just right when talking about Prada’s collections. We saw it again with her recent collection: Donna e Motori. She opted for a sweet collection, with the necessary irony of course.
Defining the benchmark
“If you want to know what a season is about, you don’t miss the Prada show,” says Julie Gilhart, fashion director for Barneys. “She never follows anyone else’s lead, just her own original energy. Her collections are completely an expression of herself.”
Prada doesn’t use very flashy logos on their merchandise; often just the famous upside down triangle. Prada’s understated type of luxury is meant to be recognized only by those who are “in the know.”
Miuccia Prada doesn’t surround herself with celebrities and still lives in the apartment where she was born.
Miuccia Prada supports a lot of art projects with the Fondazione Prada, a non-profit organization devoted to contemporary art. Next month, the exhibition ‘Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations’ opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It explores the striking affinities between Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, two Italian designers from different eras.
“I love fashion, but I think it should stay in its place, not rule your life. It’s a very nice part of your life, but I think it should be fun.” Miuccia Prada