Miuccia Prada is an Italian fashion designer best known as the head of Prada, a fashion brand that specializes in luxury goods for men and women.
The fashion designer Miuccia Prada, with the original name Maria Bianchi, was born on May 10, 1949, in Milan, Italy. She studied at the University of Milan where she obtained a doctorate in political sciences. Afterwards, when she was 24 years old, she switched carrieres and trained as a mime for 5 years at Milan’s Piccolo Teatro, until 1978. Soon, she took her family’s luxury leather goods company with the support of her future-husband Patrizio Bertelli.
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1978, The family business
She was the youngest granddaughter of Mario Prada, who started the Prada fashion line in 1913 by manufacturing well-crafted, high-end suitcases, handbags and steamer trunks for the Milanese elite. Prada took her family’s business and soon set to work on reinventing it. Prada began updating the company’s merchandise with designs she’d developed herself.
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1985, The statement pieces
Prada began gaining popularity when she unveiled a series of black nylon handbags and backpacks with understated labeling – a strong contrast of the logo that soon dominated the fashion world.
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1989 The first Ready-to-Wear Womenswear
Prada, who had no formal fashion training, was ready to introduce a line of Ready-to-Wear Womenswear and footwear. She named the collection “the uniforms for the slightly disenfranchised.” Her first footwear collections combined classicism with elements of the avant-garde in oxfords and embroidered suede slippers.
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1992, The foundation of Miu Miu
Working closely with her husband Bertelli, Miuccia Prada quickly grew the business into one of the most powerful brands of the world. In 1992, she introduced a new, more affordable label called Miu Miu, entirely based on her personal wardrobe.
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1993, The award
She was awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America International Award.
1994, The stores
There were 45 Prada retail stores worldwide and 2 Miu Miu stores. In the Prada store in the Galleria, the original mahogany and brass fittings reflect luxury and tradition. On 2 floors, garments, accessories, footwear and menswear, the stores express refinement and grace as they combine the past with the modern present.
1995, The first Menswear Collection
The company unveiled a line of men’s clothing. This transformed Prada into a fashion empire worth $30 million.
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1996, The expansion of the brand
In the years since, Prada and Bertelli were able to start a portfolio of luxury brands, similar to the Gucci Group and LVMH. That way, they introduced new lines and even bought stake in or just bought up competitors, including Fendi, Helmut Lang, Jil Sander and Church & Company. After the number from 1995, in 2002, it was reported that Prada had annual revenues of more than $1.9 billion.
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2000, The cosmetics line
Prada licensed and launched a cosmetics line with Estée Lauder, began designing innerwear, and rolled out a home furnishings collection.
2004, The souvenir collection
She dazzled everyone at her show when she presented a collection of souvenir clothes that included straw hats and embroidered moccasins. The Prada brand packed the items chic appeal.
“She never follows anyone else’s lead, just her own original energy. Her collections are completely an expression of herself.”
A Fashion Editor for TIME Magazine, 2004
2005, The list of
In April, Miuccia Prada made it onto Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century, along with the names like Bill Clinton, George Bush, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and writer Dan Brown.
2006, The selling
Brands like Helmut Lang, Amy Fairclough and Jil Sander labels were sold. Jil Sander was sold to the private equity firm Change Capital Partners, which was headed by Luc Vandevelde, the chairman of Carrefour. The Helmut Lang label is now owned by Japanese fashion company, named Link Theory. A 45% stake of the Church & Company brand was sold to Equinox.
2009, The book
She released The Prada Book charting the brand’s collaborations throughout the years.
2010, The impact
Miuccia became the 2010 McKim Medal Laureate at the Villa Aurelia of the American Academy in Rome in May 2010. The medal was awarded to the designer in recognition for her exceptional achievements in fashion and business, as well as her contribution to the visual arts.
2012, The Exhibition
An exhibition of Prada’s work was showcased, along with that of the late fashion pioneer Elsa Schiaparelli, at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The display was set to feature an installation which would give the effect of the pair being in conversation with each other, with subjects including art, politics and women.
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Prada has always blazed her own trail and demonstrated a fearlessness in trying new styles. Her experimentation once included a raincoat that was transparent until it became wet, at which point it turned opaque. Amazing, right?