history of Prada
in 1913. He
designed and sold handbags, shoes, trunks, and suitcases though two
boutiques in Milan, with clients across Europe and the US. When the
signature Prada suitcase, made from heavy, cumbersome walrus skin,
proved to be too heavy for air travel at that time, Prada concentrated
on designing exquisite leather accessories made
crystals, wood and tortoise shell, and
lighter waterproof handbags.
By the 1970s however, the
company had gone into almost
irreversible decline. That was, until Miuccia Prada took over
at the helm.
Prada, granddaughter of Mario Prada, was born in 1950, earned
a doctorate in political science
by her mid-20s, and remained a committed communist into her early
her academic background didn't seem to lend itself to the world
designer stage, her
sense of fashion was unmistakable. The label was still mainly a leather
goods manufacturer at that point, and had been struggling financially
for several years. And competition from other fashion houses like Gucci
taken its toll.
In 1978 she took over the company
and astutely directed the House of
Prada towards the world of haute couture.
sales flagging, she
expanded into nylon backpacks and luxury tote bags. She
started using backpack bags made out of Pocone,
a waterproof fabric.
1985, she unveiled
the classic Prada handbag -- a simple yet functional, sturdy, sleek,
practical and fashionable black nylon number – and
it became an overnight sensation. The high price tag that accompanied
the desirable handbags caused an onslaught of designer knock-offs,
helped to make the genuine Prada articles more in demand.
In the 1980s,
that played on sexuality. Popular were frilly, lacy, brightly colored
garments with low cut tops and short bottoms. Prada hit the
runway in 1985 with its prÍt-a-porter collection, with
elegant, simple pieces featuring clean lines, luxurious fabrics, and
basic colors. The fashion world took notice of her
understated, elegant garments, and Prada’s
By the 1990s,
Prada was a
leading force in
Their clothing and accessories were smart, sophisticated, and extremely
high quality. Simple, yet elegant styles, created in luxurious fabrics,
mostly in blacks,
browns, grays, greens, and creams, became the signature Prada look. The
apparel was sexy and spoke of confidence without revealing too
skin. Accessories included skinny leather belts, elegant high heeled
shoes, and of course, the classic handbag.
In 1992, Miuccia
affordable Miu Miu line,
which targeted a younger consumer. More flowing shapes and earthy
colors and prints set this collection apart, although the simple
designs and classic appearance continued the quality of the Prada
label. Soon after, the Prada Sport label was created, followed by a
line of men’s wear and a lingerie collection.
As Prada's fame
grew, she began to
be rewarded, earning an International Award for the Council of Fashion
Designers of America in 1993 and winning the Designer of the
Year award in 1995.
The Prada look has
the years, and
Miuccia is credited with many innovations in fabric and design. She has
added everything from beaded latex to mirror fragments to her garments,
and experimented with new and unique fabric blends, all without
compromising quality and style.
Prada opened their first menswear shop in Los Angeles, USA. They also
opened new Prada stores in Manhattan and Las Vegas, as well as Miu
Miu's first North American boutique, in Los Angeles. Prada is now a
empire, with stores in
almost every western country and worn by nearly every
Their shoes for
men and women
have become a staple for fashion enthusiasts and celebrities alike, and
those extraordinary handbags are still wildly popular. The distinct
silver Prada triangle is a status symbol all over Europe and North
The Wall Street
has named Miuccia one of the thirty most powerful women in Europe. From
fabulous runway shows to gracing the bodies of actresses like Uma
Thurman and Cameron Diaz, Miuccia Prada had taken her
grandfather’s struggling leather goods business and created a
Prada is now a
practically every country in the western world. It is a million dollar
concern, with every celebrity wearing Prada clothes.