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Prada Handbags


About Prada

Prada is an Italian Fashion House established in Milan, Italy in 1913 by Mario Prada and his brother. The company became a purveyor of quality leather goods. In 1978, Mario's granddaughter Miuccia Prada, took over the helm of the company. With her distinctive style in clothing, footwear and accessories, Miuccia Prada developed an innovative line of both clothing and accessories. The use of microfiber in leather goods and clothing can be attributed to her.

Since the mid-1990s, there have been few status symbols as potent as the Prada-embossed silver triangle. The power of the Prada badge is such that it transforms even an ordinary black nylon knapsack into a must-have accessory. But it has not always been that way. Before the arrival of Miuccia Prada, and, especially before Uma Thurman sauntered down the red-carpeted Academy Awards in that spectacular lavender chiffon dress, Prada was just a family-run leather goods business stuck in the fashion backwaters of Milan. The combination of smart management, clever designs, and media might turned Prada into, well, beach-front property sitting atop a gold mine.

Miuccia Prada's grandfather opened a boutique selling high quality leather goods and accessories in 1913 in Milan. Business was consistent but by the '70s, high-powered competitors like Gucci and Hermès had forced Prada into near-bankruptcy. In 1978, Miuccia Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, reluctantly took control of the floundering business. Patrizio took charge of management while Miuccia, who had eschewed the family business to take a Ph.D. degree in political science, designed collections. Now, over two decades later, they head a eight-hundred-million-dollar business.
Prada did not venture into ready-to-wear until 1989. Miuccia Prada's first collection was a seemingly impossible contradiction: a minimalist reincarnation of the 1970s. We recognized the bell-bottoms and the peasant blouses, but they were stripped of hippy frou-frou and rendered in neutral shades.
Since then, Miuccia Prada has guided the company's ready-to-wear line into inventive territory. There was the Mondrian-inspired collection of white dresses decorated with thin red strips ending in dots like long, skinny exclamation marks. Critics praised her spring-summer '98 show for its embroidered latex, horizontal beading and flowers. Wavy, uncertain hems gave the collection a homespun feel while computer-generated prints kept it future-savvy.

Prada has also made a name for itself in fabric innovation. Miuccia Prada has experimented with translucent latexes and papery polyamides, mixed plastics and satins, and incorporated strips of film and mirror fragments into her clothing.
The success of the flagship Prada line led the company to start the youth-targeted 'Miu Miu' line in 1992. There are other offshoots like 'Granello' and 'Prada Sport', and a lingerie line that was added in 1997, but Prada has developed surprisingly few licenses. We have as yet to see the Prada perfumed candles or what is certain to be cutting-edge Prada spectacles.

Prada, SpA is an Italian fashion company (also known as a "label" or "house") with retail outlets worldwide.

The company, originally known in Italian as Fratelli Prada ("Prada Brothers"), was founded in 1913 by Mario Prada. In 1978, Mario's granddaughter Miuccia Prada inherited what was still a leather goods business from her mother, and led the company's expansion into haute couture.

Miuccia first gained her reputation for creative use of materials and simple, modern lines with her 1985 line of sleek black handbags made from parachute nylon. These novel, high-priced bags quickly became widely sought-after, and spawned a global industry of counterfeit Prada goods.

Prada's first prêt-à-porter, or "ready-to-wear" collection was designed by Miuccia Prada in the autumn/winter season of 1989. The collection's plain, modern lines were a stark contrast to other labels' flamboyant, sexual designs, and fueled a sharp rise in Prada's popularity.

In addition to the original Prada line, the company introduced the Miu Miu collection, a lower-priced line aimed at a younger audience, in 1992. The Miu Miu line, which shares Miuccia Prada's nickname, emphasizes earthy colors and a less haute couture look, evoking an overall more bohemian style. In its advertising campaigns, waif-like models in "home photo" poses further the look. Miu Miu clothing is often simple, and evokes a continual image of high-end vintage items. It was followed by the Prada Sport collection.

Prada rose to fashion primacy in the early 1990s on a look epitomized by thick, square glasses and garish colors known as "Prada Ugly." Prada takes a decidedly -- and consciously -- intellectual approach to fashion. The look of the early 2000's has been described as that of a "chic neo-fascist army" by the New York Times. Other critics have described Prada's look by comparing it to Gucci's: While the Gucci girl is swigging shots of tequila in the back of a nightclub wearing a miniskirt and halter top, the Prada girl is reading Proust in a café.

Prada won a Council of Fashion Designers of America International Award for accessories in 1993.

Although Prada remains the pinnacle of contemporary fashion following Tom Ford's retirement -- in 2004 Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour is said to have told Miuccia Prada that she was "the only reason anyone comes to Milan" for runway shows -- it continues to derive the overwhelming bulk of its revenues from its original leather goods business, the sale of shoes and handbags.

Following lead in other companies in a popular trend of large labels to absorb as many other fashion houses as possible, Prada took on large debts to take on the financially floundering Rome-based house of Fendi in the early 1990s. Prada shared shares in Fendi with the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesy (LVMH) company. Prada was unable to turn around/support the money-losing Fendi label, and sold its Fendi shares to LVMH. Prada is still to recover from this debt. The only brand to avoid the pitfalls of forming a large luxury label company is that of Giorgio Armani.

Other labels within the Prada Group corporate umbrella include Helmut Lang and Jil Sander.


Prada in the News




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