pradaFratelli Prada and Mario Prada founded the brand in 1913 as a leather goods shop in Milan, selling English steamer trunks made from walrus skin, handbags, and shoes. After Mario’s death in the 1950s, his granddaughter, Miuccia Bianchi Prada, took over the financially struggling company and it is she who developed Prada into the fashion empire it is today. Miuccia, along with her husband/business partner Patrizio Bertelli, has owned Prada since 1978 and she remains the lead designer for the company. Aside from their catwalk in creations, in commercial terms, Prada is best known for its elegant, simple handbags featuring the company’s silver triangle logo.

The Prada shoe line was released in 1984, and the brand’s shoes are renowned for their sky-high heels. In 1985 Miuccia released the now-iconic nylon black handbag, which quickly became a must-have for fashionistas everywhere. Prada introduced its first ready-to-wear collection in 1989 and Prada became quickly  established as a leading high fashion brand.

In 1992, the Miu Miu collection was launched. Aimed at a younger crowd, the line is a reference to Miuccia Prada’s nickname. More economically priced  than the mainline Prada brand, Miu Miu possesses a bohemian, vintage look that was inspired by Miuccia’s own wardrobe. Its ad campaigns have featured youthful celebrities such as Drew Barrymore in the 1990s and Lindsay Lohan and Kirsten Dunst in the 2000s.

Menswear was introduced in 1995 and by1998, Prada’s collection included cosmetics, underwear, home goods, and athletic wear. The brand even expanded to the technology business by collaborating with LG Electronics to create the LG Prada KE850 phone in 2007. In 2009, the KF900 was released in Europe.

Miuccia was named Footwear News Footwear Designer of the Year in 1996. She was also given a special achievement award by the National Italian American Foundation in 2000 and has been named one of the thirty miumiumost powerful women in Europe by the Wall Street Journal. With stores in America, Canada, Brazil, Europe, Asia, and Australia, Prada is an iconic brand all over the world.

Notable Collections

Prada introduced the first ready to wear collection in autumn/winter 1989 at the Palazzo Manusardi headquarters. It featured black and white colour schemes, dresses, and sportswear chic pieces. With its clean lines and basic colours, the collection was praised for its minimalist spin on 1960s and 1970s styles. Upon the release of this collection, Prada became known for high quality clothing along with stylish handbags and accessories.

Miu Miu’s debut collection in 1992 included crocheted and patchwork garments, saddle bags, clogs, boots, and earthy colour schemes. The line was an instant success and boutiques have since  been opened all over America, Europe, and Asia.

Famous Items

Prada Backpack – The sleek black lightweight backpack features Prada’s famous embossed silver triangle logo. The backpack is made of Pocone, a waterproof nylon fabric.

The Classic Prada Handbag – Released in 1985, Miuccia’s perfected design is both practical and stylish. It quickly became a must-have item for fashionistas and remains a wardrobe staple. The subtlety of the triangle logo ironically makes the bag an “anti-status” statement for some shoppers as the Prada style is more discreet than other designer handbags, such as Gucci and Burberry.

The Prada Fairy Bag – Prada meets Art Nouveau. This whimsical, colourful bag made from deerskin leather features detailed imagery of fairies and magical forest elements. prada-fairy-bag1The fairy print was the theme of Prada’s 2008 Spring Collection and was present on the ‘60s-inspired clothing and shoes as well.

Also noteworthy are Prada’s thin belts, floral print dresses, and boots with towering heels.

Impact

Miuccia Prada is a designer who always add a touch of understated luxury to her pieces. Educated in political science, Miuccia is an intellectual as well as a designer and this has inspired her collections. Miuccia’s devotion to politics and women’s issues influenced her clothing designs meaning that they are not always purely based on sex appeal but rather on the material and design quality of the piece.  The Prada aesthetic is Bohemian and Miuccia’s pieces bring to mind the free-spirited and whimsical elements of her personality.

Often Prada designs are not occasion or season-specific. There is a versatility present across the brand, from the classic handbags to the catwalk creations, making Prada the perfect recession-friendly brand.

www.prada.it