Milan men’s fashion week is over and, as usually, there’s a brand that got into our hearts. Actually, it’s not only a brand, but an entire universe, whose aesthetic is beloved by so many people all over the world. We’re talking about Prada. Are you ready to know something more about its history with The Blonde Salad?
1913, everything started with Fratelli Prada
This year, Prada turns 105 years old. In 1913 when brothers Mario and Martino Prada opened their boutique in Milan in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele… exactly in the same place where we can still find one of the most iconic flagship store of the brand in the world. Fratelli Prada, that’s how the label said (and still says), conquered with their luxury leather goods all the haute bourgeoisie and aristocracy, even becoming, in 1919, the official manufacturer of Savoia Royal Family.
After Mario’s death, in 1958, his daughter Luisa took the helm of the maison. But times were changed and the Belle Epoque, during which Fratelli Prada gained their fame, was over since a very long time. The turning point was in 1971, when Maria Bianchi, Luisa’s daughter, started to work in the family company. Everybody knew her as Miuccia. This is the beginning of a true legend.
Seventies and Eighties: Miuccia’s debut and the wedding with Patrizio Bertelli
Militant, obsessed with theatre and with a strong passion for fashion, even if she always felt this family job with some prejudice, like it was something for “little” women. Miuccia Prada became chief of the company at the end of the Seventies, starting a real journey that will forever change the aesthetic and the commercial strategies of the brand. Her style, a minimalistic luxury concept, was too avant-garde for that time, when glamour and excess were leading.
In 1985 she reached her very first success. Miuccia Prada fell in love with nylon fabric and she chose it for a collection of tote bags and backpacks. The only detail is the triangle logo of the maison. It was a blockbuster: Prada nylon backpack became a status symbol for younger generations.
In these years Miuccia Prada met Patrizio Bertelli, heir of an attorney family and who bought, when he was just 20 years old, two leather goods manufacturies. Legends said about furious fights between these two. But you know, “you only tease the one you love”. In 1987 Miuccia and Bertelli tied the knot, starting a marriage of love and business. She’s the creative director, he’s the CEO, and Prada jumped for the very first time on the catwalk in 1988.
The Nineties: an icon is born
If the Eighties were just “too much” to understand Prada’s aesthetic, the minimalistic attitude of the Nineties was the perfect scenery to bring this italian brand on top of the world. Miuccia Prada is still famous today for her ability to make the ugly chic and beautiful. Her women wanted to be georgeous for themselves, not for men. Prada’s style, with its conceptual mood, broke the rules of feminine fashion, creating a fascinating and complex universe.
The Prada’s universe we know today was started to be built in these years. In 1993 the company launched Prada men’s collection and Miu Miu, a brand with a younger attitude and edgier style, while in 1995 Fondazione Prada was established, with the ambitious goal to experiment new contemporary art projects.
The 2000s: Prada became global
Miuccia Prada was always influenced by her passion for art and architecture. In the 2000s she worked with design firms Rem Koolhas and Herzog & De Meuron to create the well known New York and Tokyo Epicenters, that melts the concept of a flagship store to the one of a contemporary art gallery.
Prada was a global phenomenon, with dozens of stores all around the world, successful collections that ran on the catwalks of Milan and Paris fashion weeks, a brand portfolio that included also Church’s and Car Shoe and a legendary sport adventure like Luna Rossa at the America’s Cup. Prada’s name, that already was a cult between fashionistas, became mainstream thanks to a cult movie like The Devil wears Prada, that unveiled Anna Wintour‘s passion for Miuccia Prada.
In 2011, Prada became a public company listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, with one of the must successful fashion Ipos. One year later, the official fashion consecration with Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossibile Conversations at New York Metropolitan Museum.
Prada in 2018
What is Prada today? A complex universe that seem to have reach its maximum level. More than a brand, it’s a multifaceted world that is also the expression of the eclectic soul of Miuccia Prada. Besides fashion brands, the company can also count on Fondazione Prada, a space dedicated to contemporary art with three different headquarters: Palazzo Ca’ Corner della Regina in Venice, Fondazione Prada in Largo Isarco in Milan (with the latest addiction of Torre tower) and Osservatorio in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Prada even entered in the food industry purchasing in 2014 Pasticceria Marchesi.
Prada’s aesthetic has always been the same, but it was ready to adapt to changes and new consumers, that love cult pieces like Saffiano totes, bowler bags, printed shirts, wedges and super cool sunglasses. And now, they’re ready to fall in love with the new logo designed for the fall winter 2018 collection.
Prada and Chiara Ferragni? A real love story! She can’t miss their fashion shows and of course, this Sunday, she was in the front row discovering the new spring summer 2019 men collection, wearing an amazing Prada total look!
Do you want to be connected to Prada’s world? You just need to follow the right Instagram accounts: first of all, the official @prada account where you can be updated about the latest brand’s news, then @pradajournal, the contest promoted by Prada with Fondazione Feltrinelli and Luxottica, and obviously @fondazioneprada, to get in touch with all the ucoming exhibitions.
Are you still thirsty of Prada’s style? Don’t miss our gallery with some of the most iconic looks from Prada’s collections and go straight to our The Blonde Salad Instagram account to watch all our stories about this brand!