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Born in the year 1949, Miuccia Prada entered family business by 1978. The leather goods Company, a family luxury was founded by Mario, grandfather of Miuccia Prada’s in 1913 in Milan. Though reluctant, Prada took over the reins of the company in 1978. By then Miuccia Prada had completed her studies and acquired a PhD in Political Science.

She was able to renovate the appearance of the products that were being manufactured in the company. She had great interest in unusual and varied fabrics that led to a characteristic trademark of products. The combination of materials was very different. The products of Prada were uniquely distinct due to two reasons. One, materials were used in very unusual contexts as against the normal and how they exactly fit the purpose.

She was a mime artist and did not actually think of taking over the company. She had been performing mime for about five years at Teatro Piccolo in Milan. She was a paid member of the Communist party and a women’s right champion during the seventies in Milan. She was soon able to prove her worth by about 1985. She designed a new line of handbags in black that were unlabelled, hard-wearing and finely crafted with nylon. These instantly became an overwhelming success. The bags were soon patronized by Marie Helvin and Jerry Hall. The bags were priced at about £250. Immediately after the success, another company that made similar bags sprang up and tried making more interesting bags. But Prada bags were meant only for models, super models and fashion designers across the world whose accessory choice was nothing but Prada.

Anna Wintour, Miuccia Prada – both in Prada

In the year 1989, Prada was able to launch her ready-to-wear collection for women. The acclaim it received was amazing. The dresses were in complete contrast to the designs and fashion of the day. They contained plain and strict lines than the sensual and highly curve conscious designs. A journalist who admired these clothes commented that they were uniforms meant for the slightly disenfranchised. She was much inspired her own wardrobe that had hippyish clothes, more earthy and of natural fabrics. This led to the creation of her less expensive line Miu Miu, which used her nickname, and were in natural colors and fabrics. In 1993, Prada won the Council of Fashion Designers of America International Award for her stylish and clean designs on fine material and exemplary craftsmanship. After a year she was in New York for the first time. She also opened a boutique in London. In 1995, she presented her ready-to-wear collection for men and that was also a thumping success.

It was about the same time when she took over the reins of her company that she met her husband who was also her business partner. She attributes every success of her business to her husband. She also said that she would not have grown this much and be able to compete with other giants in the same field. Under Bertelli’s influence, the fashion house began its moves towards conquering greater heights and rivaling LVMH by 2000. During this period the labels such as Helmut Lang, Fendi, Azzedine Alaia and Jil Sander were added to their portfolio.

Prada, the Person

Prada has actually been able to create benchmarks when it comes to design, and depicts her eye for details. She is distinctly different from the like of her. She has disregard and sometimes even contempt for those who dictate fashion. She feels that fashion has to be regularly updated.

This attitude of hers was able to rocket her towards $100 million projects that were permanent. Her stores sprang up in New York and in Tokyo by the precise Swiss duo Herzog & De Meuron. Unlike other designers who design with the color and material of their choice, Prada was quite different from them. She chooses a color that she does not like and begin to makes the best out of it.

Prada lives in the apartment that she lived when she was a child. She has a few friends. Every season she makes it a point to run her latest collections on the runways of Milan. Julie Gilhart was of the opinion that if one wanted to know what the season was famous for then one shouldn’t miss Prada’s show. Her shows and collections completely reflect her personality and depict her passion and energy for fashion designing.

Being very thoughtful, curious and independent, Prada once designed a raincoat that was transparent. It would remain transparent until it was wet and then become opaque. In the same season she was also able to capture the admiration with her quirky tchotchkes, beaded bags, embroidered suede moccasins and raffish straw hats that would interest any housewife who was visiting Venice. The company being immune to heavy economic decline, Prada has always stood as a symbol of strength and determination due to which she was able to pay off everything.

Prada is an example of luxury that is a welcome form of luxury. Unlike the fashion of 80s, the Prada fashion was not displayed explicitly. It was more of comfort, form, purity and grace. Her collection avoids vibrant coloring and appealing looks.

Miuccia Prada, who is entirely in charge of the companies creative decisions, says she bases her decisions mostly on intuition. She is reported to be overly selective about each detail of her design. Each product would be changed time and again in order to come close to Miucci Prada’s initial idea. Her husband Patrizio Bertelli is the businessman behind her success. He is responsible for the commercial side of the products and trade strategies.

The Company Prada

The total sale of Prada rose from 270 billion Liras in 1994 to 456 billion Liras in 1996 and was expected to rise by leaps and bounds in the following years. At least 55% of sales happen in Europe and the biggest export market being none other than Japan.

Prada has over 250 fully owned shops across the world. To maintain the control over retail exercises, it does not enter into agreements and other forms of duty-free outlets etc. Out of the existing line of products, new line on under wears and skiing were also added by 1997. Home wear was introduced in 1998. Prada perfumes are yet another amazing row of products that they can give to the world.

Without Prada, people would have been mixed up with vague colors, materials and fashion!