Miuccia Prada: From Politician To Fashion Designer!

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Prada: Who wears Prada?:

Everybody does!

Miuccia Prada Bianchi is one of the most popular world class female fashion designers with no formal schooling or training in fashioning!

You hardly find a fashion magazine or watch a TV fashion program without the mention of Prada, the Italian fashion brand.

‘Prada’ is everywhere! Prada is in news:

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When Prada’s Fall 2014 Collection came out, Sunday Times ‘Style’ section wrote that the runaway hit was the ‘scarves’: people who were mesmerised by the sleek scarves immediately tweeted on Twitter: “This is how you’ll be tying your scarf next season. Long skinny and to the side.”

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There is Kerry Washington, the Scandal star who made her appearance at the Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Las Angeles in orange Prada dress; Lupita Nyong’o, the Oscar Award winning actress and film and music video director, wore a Prada gown on the Vogue cover page; Michelle Dockery, the Downton Abbey star auctioned the Prada gown she wore at Emmy Awards to help Syrian refugees in Jordon; and there is Prada in non-fashion low-end commoner news: there is this Moore County woman who’s lucky enough to win a Prada handbag in a Dare to be Different H-4 group’s raffle draw and there is this Newport Beach bank robber who wore Prada sunglasses, to name a few.

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A family owned Italian leather goods shop was started in 1913, run by the two brothers, Mario Prada and Martino Prada, under the name ‘Fratelli Prada’ which means ‘Prada Brothers’. After Mario Prada’s demise, it passed into the hands of Luisa Prada, Mario Prada’s daughter who had headed and held the reins for about 20 years until, in 1970, her daughter Miuccia Prada joined the family business and took it over from her mother in 1978.

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Miuccia, later known in fashion circles as Mrs Prada, and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, who had already been in the leather goods business, shaped this Italian family business in Milan, Italy into a multi-billion international fashion brand, with about 250 fully owned outlets around the world, selling stylish high-end apparel, leather goods, handbags, sunglasses, fragrances, cosmetics, and accessories for men and women under the brand names Prada and Miu Miu, the nickname/pet name of Miuccia, with the other lines Granello, Prada Uomo and Prada Donna, and marketing luxury footwear under Car Shoe and Church’s.

Over the years, Miuccia Prada, a Ph.D. in Political Science, has shown her political knowledge in acquiring Jil Sander, the German Fashion House brand;  Helmut Lang, the Fashion Brand created by an Austrian fashion designer, Helmut Lang, and the shoemakers Church & Co., the English classic footwear manufacturers.

Prada designs are known to have a touch of 1970’s fashion. However, the woman that makes her decisions basing on her intuition rather than on logic says that “it’s not about recreating past trends of bygone era; it’s about taking classic and familiar products and injecting a touch of haute awkwardness and making undesirable clothes desirable.” How true!

This shrewd designer is not bound by rules or seasons, nor does she value reasons. She’s shown models wearing coats with sandals or with barefoot. However, critics accept the fact that, Prada being an international brand, sells its products simultaneously in the regions with entirely different climatic conditions, and it hardly matters whether Mrs Prada sticks to the ethics of seasonal wear or not.

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Her reputation is such that even the very critical fashion market experts agree that Miuccia Prada is good at making ‘bad’ trends look good again.

It’s not just the fashion lovers and Prada fans that admire the grandness of Prada products. Charles Kolb, President, French-American Foundation, and Former President of Committee for Economic Development, wrote in one of his articles, ‘American Postsecondary Education: A Prada Handbag or an Irish Potato?’ that Prada, Bentley and a house in Hampton are ‘Veblen goods’, keeping Prada in par with Bentley and a house in Hampton, which means that the more expensive the Prada products are, the more status and craze they garner in the market!

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Prada Brand wields so much influence in the fashion world that Harrods, an English international business house with Harrods chain of department stores being its flagship, showed much enthusiasm in having Prada on their premises. The two brands organised an exhibition, a joint venture on April 30, 2014, displaying Prada’s products from the collections of the past 100 years. The word ‘eagerly’ has been found repeatedly in all the news items and ads, which shows that Harrods, a world class enterprise by itself, is overwhelmed by Prada’s presence.

We see the grand reputation of Prada in another incident. There has been some misunderstanding between Prada and Barneys. Barneys New York is a high-end American chain of department stores which sells the best and most expensive international fashion products. It had stocked all the Prada products until February 2011. However, because of some disagreement over prices and lease of space, Harrods stopped stocking Prada products, except men’s wear and footwear. However, Barney’s CEO is believed to have said: “You don’t need me to tell you that Prada is the best. Prada is without doubt the most important designers in the world!”

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In her younger days, she was more of a politician than an artist. She did her PhD in Political Science; not in Fashion designing. She worked for the Italian Communist Party. She was a political activist and feminist. And after graduation, she went for yet another quite different occupation — the theatre. She joined the most famous ‘Piccolo Teatro’ theatre in Milan and trained herself to be a mime! Considering all these unrelated activities, one might conclude that Miuccia Prada is certainly an unlikely choice to be on the family business table, but ironically, she’s proved herself to be the most likely choice with her ‘dare-devil’ attitude and her ‘flair for fashion’!

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After a bit of lull in her new career, she came into the forefront when her 1985 nylon handbags and backpacks made their way into the hearts of the Milanese elite. Nevertheless, she waited for four years and then introduced her first ready-to-wear women’s clothes that made a big hit with the consumers and the critics, and she never looked back.

With her business talents and classy designs, she, with her husband’s enormous support and help, has brought the family business from the brink of collapse — with the last one shop remaining when she took over — to an international Brand.

As some critics put it, she understands curves, in the bodies of her models in a subtle way and in the lines on the sales charts in a broader way, and she’s determined to reach higher.

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If it’s a great achievement for a woman to just compete in the fashion world dominated by men with chauvinistic attitude, it’s certainly a grand achievement for a woman to get to the top rank.

Let’s wait to see when The Angel wears Prada!

Photo Credit, Bags Photo Credit