The Definitive History of Prada

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History of Prada and Brand Overview
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Last Updated on June 28, 2022

When thinking of luxury fashion, the first name that comes to mind in many is Prada.

Prada is an Italian luxury fashion house that specializes in leather goods, accessories, shoes, ready-to-wear, and perfumes. Its headquarters are in Milan and the company has a revenue of US$3.91 billion.

Wondering why the brand has become so famously recognized as a status of wealth and good taste? It has a lot to do with its rich heritage and history.

Timeline of Prada Through Key Decades

1910s: Early Years

The first Prada store opened in 1913 in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, where only the most prestigious brands were sold. The company was founded by Mario Prada, the current Miuccia Prada’s grandfather. This store sold handbags, traveling trunks, and accessories for traveling.

By 1919, Prada became the official supplier for the Italian Royal House. This gave the brand a sense of prestige and luxury unlike any other. It became then, and still is today, symbolic of Italian aristocracy and the upper class.

Overall, the brand made little impact in comparison to when Mario’s granddaughter took over.

1970s

The 1970s marked a big change within the company; in 1975 Miuccia Prada joined the family business. She devoted herself to accessories design specifically. A partnership was created in 1977 between Miuccia and Patrizio Bertelli, an entrepreneur.

Together they created an innovative business model that blended business with creativity, and applied strict criteria throughout the product creation cycle. The first line of women’s shoes was released in 1979.

1980s

In 1983, the company expanded the number of stores it had and created an iconic aesthetic that is still seen today; a layout made with ‘Prada green’ color. In 1988 the first Prada womenswear collection was released in Milan as a Fall Winter Collection.

1990s

The 1990s marked a decade of much growth for Prada. The brand expanded internationally, including in the USA, China, and Japan. Boutiques were opened in New York City, Madrid, Paris, Tokyo, and London.

Many new things came in 1993. Prada menswear ready-to-wear was released along with a footwear collection for men. The first show was presented in Milan. Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli founded Fondazione Prada, a cultural hub located in Milan where many exhibitions have taken place.

2000s

In 2000, Prada launched its first eyewear collection including sunglasses and optical frames.

Prada Eyewear

Women’s Prada Eyeglasses:

In 2002, Prada opened its first headquarters in New York City, the first American headquarters for the company. In 2003, Prada perfumes were in the making.

Women’s perfumes were released in 2004 while men’s in 2006.

Prada Candy Women’s Perfume:

Prada Luna Rossa Mens Cologne:

In 2008, the Prada Touchscreen Phone came out partnered with LG, marking a growth in technological innovation for the brand. In 2009, Prada Transformer was opened in Seoul, where cultural activities take place.

2010s

In 2010 Prada collaborates with FAI, the Italian National Trust, to restore artwork throughout cities in Italy. Miuccia Prada is the costume designer for Verdi’s “Attila” opera which presented in New York City at the Metropolitan Opera House.

In 2012, Prada, alongside Schiaparelli, formed part of the exhibition titled ‘Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversation’ which dwelled into the themes both houses represented and their passion for art.

In 2014, Pradasphere was inaugurated, an exhibition in London and Hong Kong that narrated the main inspirations of the brand, allowing visitors to experience the ‘Prada universe’. In 2015, Prada Galleria was inaugurated in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, consolidating a relationship between the company and the city of Milan. In 2017, the first of the many ‘Shaping a Future’ conference occurred in Milan, were talks of sustainability and contemporary change took place.

In 2018, Prada Mode Miami was inaugurated as a themed event where experiences for guests took place. It complemented the event of Art Basel. In 2019, Prada Mode London took place. This year The Prada Group announced a fur free policy as a way to become more sustainable. This year, the company signed a license agreement with L’Oréal. This year Prada launched Re-Nylon, a project introducing Prada handbags made from Econyl yarn. Prada Mode Hong Kong took place in 2019 as well.

2020s

Prada Mode Shanghai took place in 2020 as well. This year, Prada began a series of online conversations regarding fashion, culture, and topics on life via Instagram lives. After each talk Prada donated proceeds to UNESCO. Prada supported the pandemic through many different proposals in 2020.

In 2020 Raf Simons became co-creative director alongside Miuccia Prada. Prada Mode Paris happened in 2020 as well. In 2021, Prada Mode Moscow took place in December of 2021. Prada chose Jake Gyllenhaal as the face of the new Luna Rossa Ocean fragrance campaign.

The latest news includes that The Prada Group joined the Valuable 500 as the first luxury fashion house.

What Does Prada Stand For?

Meaning Behind the Prada Name

The name ‘Prada’ comes from the last name of Mario and Martino Prada, whom created the fashion brand in 1913. It was originally named ‘Fratelli Prada’, translating to ‘Prada Brothers’, but the last name later became the sole title of the brand.

Which Products Are Prada Famous For?

Miuccia Prada is responsible for the most iconic Prada products since she has been creative director in recent decades.

Prada Galleria Handbag

Prada Galleria Tote Bag

Made in Saffiano leather, which has become a brand icon, this is perhaps the most iconic product by Prada. The bag is described as sophisticated yet simple. It includes a double handle and detachable shoulder strap, making it versatile.

Prada Nylon Backpack

A functional option that is unisex, the Nylon Backpack has been around for many years and is still today a cult favorite. The backpack was included in the Re-Nylon collection and has since then become iconic. It comes in various sizes and colors too, with black being the best-seller.

Read:

5 Best Prada Bag Styles that are Timeless and Beautiful

We LOVE these 90s Throwback Bags (And You Will Too)

3 of the Best Prada Dresses (And How to Style Them)

Prada Flaming Stiletto

In 2012, Prada launched the Flaming Stiletto, which quickly became famous for its characteristic flame-like detail and bright color palette. Women everywhere had to have their hands on them. The shoe became one of the brand’s most well-known and recognized designs.

Famous Runway Shows

Spring Summer 1996

The Spring-Summer 1996 runway show displayed shades of dull colors and retro patterns similar to wallpaper designs. The collection was perceived as influential and became known as ‘ugly chic’. It ended up being one of Miuccia Prada’s most influential collections.

Fall 2000 Menswear

The Fall 2000 Menswear collection was inspired by the 1970s with a characteristic color palette, textures, and play between garments.

Spring Summer 2018

The Spring-Summer 2018 runway show broke the rules of the classic aesthetic and explored freedom, liberation, and the fantastical. It also was juxtaposed with the extreme conservatism that Miuccia predicted was coming, and the play between both dualities.

Spring 2022 Ready-To-Wear

The first time that the work of both Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons was seen on a runway show. The show was iconic because it also happened in two different places simultaneously; Milan and Shanghai. This represented the door towards endless new opportunities, in both real life and the digital world. The show was one of many firsts.

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