Originating as a leather goods company, today Prada is one of the most prestigious and well-known names in the fashion world

  • Summary

History of Prada

The Prada company was started in 1913 by Mario Prada and his brother Martino - designing and selling handbags, shoes and luggage through their boutique in Milan.

Mario Prada was against women being involved in business, and so he initially discouraged female family members from joining the company. However, Mario’s son had no interest in the family business, and so his daughter Luisa was the one who took charge of the Prada label for nearly twenty years. In 1970, Mario’s granddaughter Miuccia Prada also became involved in the company, and eight years later she took over the running of the business. At the time the company was losing money, and suffering from competition from other brands such as Gucci.

Miuccia was a former mime who had been studying at the Teatro Piccolo in Milan, she also had a PhD in political science. Despite her seemingly inappropriate qualifications, Miuccia had an undeniable eye for fashion. Soon after she took over the company she married Patrizio Bertelli, an Italian who started his own leather goods business at seventeen years old. Following his advice, Miuccia stopped importing English goods and steered the label towards haute couture.

Brand identity

The Prada handbag was revealed in 1985 and caused a sensation in the fashion world, becoming an immediate classic. The bag was sleek, functional and at the same time, fashionable.
Prada set itself apart from other popular fashion houses with its clear lines and understatement. Unlike other luxury brands, the Prada logo wasn’t such an abvious design element.

During the 1980’s the trend among many designers was towards ideas of femininity, with frequent use of lace, bright colours, low necklines and short skirts. Ever eager to stand apart from the fashion crowd, Prada’s 1989 pret-a-porter collection featured stylish yet simple creations using luxurious fabrics. This dissension caught the eyes of the fashion world, and Prada enjoyed a dramatic rise in popularity, and profits.


Thanks to the sophistication and very high quality of its products, Prada was a leading name in fashion by the 1990’s.

In 1992, Miuccia presented the Miu Miu line which was aimed at younger, trendier clientele. The style of this line was characterised by lighter colours, prints and more flowing shapes – yet the trademark classic simplicity of Prada remained. This line was soon followed by Prada Sport, a menswear line and lingerie collection.
Today, Prada operates stores in dozens of locations worldwide.

Official website

Published by Clare, on October 8 2011, 20:33 ( Contact)


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