Prada Milano: The Ultimate Italian Luxury Brand Since 1913

If you have even a cursory interest in fashion, there’s absolutely no chance that you don’t know the name Prada. Pop culture has been obsessed with the brand for decades now: the name appears in films like 10 Things I Hate About You, Death Proof, and of course, The Devil Wears Prada. The brand is seen on the most popular fashionistas and It Girls and is well known for creating clothing and accessories of excellent quality and flawless design. From leather handbags made to last a lifetime to shoes that will carry you through life, Prada Milano is the go-to for Italian luxury style. Let’s learn a little more about this brand and its hallmarks.

Prada Marfa
The Prada Marfa sculpture in Texas (Photo by Mizzu Cho | Pexels)

Prada: A History

The house of Prada has been blessing the world with its luxury style for more than a hundred years. Mario Prada founded the brand in 1913 and opened the very first Prada store on the beloved Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II. To begin with, that one original store only offered a range of travel accessories. Leather products like steamer trunks and suitcases were the bulk of their trade. The brand did well enough until 1919 when they suddenly thrust into the public eye in a way it had never been before. Prada was asked to become the Official Supplier to the Italian Royal House. This is how Prada’s logo came to be: the triangle surrounding the name is an ode to Italian aristocracy, similar to the one in the Savoy coat of arms.

Tamara Mirror by KOKET

Though Mario Prada, like almost all men of his time, believed that women should remain in the home and not venture into the workplace, the brand’s future would rest on the shoulders of his daughter, Luisa. Since his son showed no interest in the family business, Mario passed the mantle on to Luisa, who took the reins in 1958. Luisa ran and began to expand Prada for the next twenty years. 

At this point, Prada was still exclusively manufacturing leather goods. It would still be some time until womens designer sunglasses, shoes, and clothing came onto the scene. The brand was not yet a household name when it passed from Luisa to her daughter, Miuccia, in 1978. Her chief collaborator, Patrizio Bertelli, came on board around the time she took over management. And the pair committed themselves entirely to beginning a new era for Prada.

Prada bag
Photo by Анастасия | Pexels

The Brand Expands

In 1979, Prada Milano launched their first-ever collection of women’s footwear. The collection boosted the brand’s status and made the fashion community take notice of its clean, simple aesthetic and made them famous for its signature Prada Green. Following the launch of this collection, the brand opened stores in Tokyo, Paris, and Madrid. As the eighties dawned, so did the inaugural line of womenswear that would take the company to new heights. The collection features slim, narrow belts and low waistlines, an unusual style given the time. It was this collection that well and truly catapulted Prada Milano into the public eye for good.

Modern Prada

In 1987, long-time collaborators Miuccia and Bertelli tied the knot, and this duo stands at the helm of the family business today. Their collections have continued to wow the fashion world. And they have never once compromised on style for the sake of sales; they don’t need to.

Prada shoes
Photo by Karen Laark Boshoff | Pexels

Certain Prada designs are iconic and remembered by fashion lovers to this day. Some have been remade, but others, like the two below, have taken their rightful place in the fashion hall of fame.

  • The Prada Backpack. The original Prada backpack was a nylon design that was released in 1984. It was a groundbreaking moment in fashion, especially for Prada, because of its materials and its hardwearing, water-resistant aspect.
  • The Galleria Bag. Designed by the man himself, Mario Prada, this classic piece truly took the world by storm. Crafted from Saffiano luxury leather, the bag has a cross-hatched water and scratch-resistance design.

Wrapping Up

Shoes, belts, bags, sunglasses, and garments: the Prada empire has expanded a lot and will no doubt continue to do so for a long time to come. Under the leadership of the Prada family, the company has gone from a small operation to something recognized and appreciated by Royals to becoming fashion royalty itself. The Prada Green collection made this brand an institution, and its most iconic pieces have earned it a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. Prada Milano is now a household name, and the brand is here to stay. To own a piece by Prada is to own a luxury item that will retain its lustre for years and to buy into fashion history; which piece will you choose?

Feature image by Stock Birken | Unsplash

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