Miuccia Prada (Milan, 1948) is an Italian fashion designer and businesswoman who has great milestones to her credit within the world of fashion and culture. From buildings designed by the best architects in the world, to facilities in the middle of nowhere, the Miuccia universe has a lot to offer.
Miuccia Prada (Milan, 1948) is the youngest granddaughter of Mario Prada, who founded Fratelli Prada in 1913 with his brother Martino. His first store – which is still in force – opened at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a luxurious shopping complex located meters from the Duomo in the late 19th century. The decoration was in charge of Nicola Benois and the concept was that of the library of an English aristocrat: noble wood, brass handrails and a hundred books covered in leather. Contrary to popular belief, Fratelli Prada was not a travel goods store, but a boutique specializing in luxury goods. According to the firm’s file, handbags were made in lizard skin with a daisy and lapis lazuli clasp (1918), black silk bags with a clasp of mine in hand-grated ivory (1925) up to a leather wallet made of toad with a silver flower (1927) or an enamel and tortoiseshell watch (1938).
In 1978, when Miuccia took over his grandfather’s company, his intention was to do new things, and he succeeded. She debuted as a designer when crafting a black and brown backpack with parachute nylon and leather accents. It took time to succeed, but it did its job. For the year 1988, when the editors of various media came to see the first Prada collection, in the exhibition room where the clothes could be seen with ease, they ran into the backpack. The following season they were found in various fashion publications and department store windows. The definitive consecration of this bag as an “it” garment was achieved by sending this accessory to fashion editors. “Suddenly, the backpack was everywhere,” recalls Karla Otto, public relations who at the time was working at the firm.
Prada, apotheosis of luxury par excellence, has a close relationship with architecture. In 2003, the brand decided to go for a “temple to postmodernism” in Omotesando, the Japanese luxury area, designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron. The curious thing about this building is the facade: five faces made of bubble-shaped glass and with a rhomboidal pattern. This building is a clear example of Prada’s ambition for high architecture.
Another clear example of Prada’s obsession with innovating is this building designed by Rem Koolhaas located in Seoul next to the 16th century Gyeonghuigung Palace that served as a venue for different exhibitions for six months. The structure combines the four sides of a tetrahedron and is covered by a smooth elastic membrane. Each floor plan of the building has a specific purpose – a cinema, an art exhibition, a special event and more.
Prada’s “no store” located in the middle of the Texas desert is an art installation designed by Elmgreen & Dragset over a decade ago. What the artistic duo was looking for was to reflect on consumerism and human development. They never thought that it would become their most popular work and a place of pilgrimage for fashionistas today.