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Miuccia Prada

Miuccia Prada is not your typical fashion mogul, yet she continues to be the name on everybody’s lips.  Having graduated from the University of Milan with a degree in political science in 1970, three years later she went on to receive a Ph.D. in the same degree.  Now, she is at the helm of one of the hottest fashion houses in the world, with two iconic brands sharing her name.


Once a member of the Italian Communist Party, Miuccia was a recognised feminist and a champion for women’s rights in Milan.  Upon completing her studies, she trained as a mime for five years before becoming the unlikely inheritor of her family business.


Born as Maria Bianchi in 1947 in Milan, Bianchi took the name Miuccia Prada in the late 1980s.  She was the youngest granddaughter of Mario Prada, who founded the eponymous brand in 1913.  Miuccia and her husband Patrizio Bertelli took over the ailing business in 1978, which was known for manufacturing leather suitcases, handbags and travel goods. Together, they transformed it into the fashion powerhouse it is today.


In 1985 Miuccia had her first big success, in a line of simple, black finely-woven nylon handbags and backpacks.  The functional design was an instant success and everyone wanted something Prada.


Inspired, yet with no formal fashion training, Miuccia and her husband launched Prada’s first ready-to-wear line for women. Critics and fashion followers were instantly captivated.


The Miu Miu brand (named after one of Miuccia’s nicknames) was introduced in 1992 as a more affordable accessories line for a younger market.  Originally created as an anti-fashion house, Miu Miu like Prada was another sensation and fast progressed to its own stand-alone brand.


Today, Prada is a fashion leader with the skill to predict (and possibly create) cultural shifts.  Whether her inspiration stems from uniforms, sixties clothing or housewives, when Prada moves, people follow.


In an interview with Vogue, Miuccia says that her designs are “about what I like, but also analysing what is and isn’t trendy and why people like something, trying to find a way to look at it from outside, researching new ideas on beauty and femininity and the way it is perceived in contemporary culture.”


Prada collections are a reflection of Miuccia’s unique vision and energy. What one designer might deem garish, in Prada’s hands becomes pure style.  Her success can be attributed to her intelligence and instincts, but more simply because she just loves clothes.



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