Established in 1913 at Milan’s prestigious Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Prada remains one of the world’s most iconic luxury fashion houses. Founded by Prada Brothers (“Fratelli Prada”) Mario and Martino as a leather goods shop, Mario’s daughter Luisa Prada took the helm of Prada as his successor for almost 20 years. Next in line, her daughter Miuccia Prada joined the company in 1970, eventually taking over after her mother in 1978. Extending the repertoire of bags and luggage, Prada launched its first women's ready-to-wear collection in 1989, to the fashion crowd’s great delight. The designs came to be known for their considered approach to luxury, with a large emphasis on opulent fabrics, fuss-free silhouettes and trans-seasonal colours. Compared to their logo-heavy peers, Prada was a silent rebellion: pushing an image of anti-status and self-expression through subtle design rather than labels. Today, the designs are far more experimental, benefitting from Miuccia’s intelligent and imaginative creativity. The contemporary art scene is a recurring point of reference, as is popular culture and the state of current affairs, which Miuccia responds to without ever getting too political. This modern approach to running a heritage label has secured Prada’s continuous relevance and status as an opinion-leading trendsetter.
OfV says: From novelty nylon bags to espadrille platform oxfords, trust in Prada for pioneering statement pieces that have surprised and astonished even the most senior of fashion editors. Seasonal must-haves aside, the brand hosts a repertoire of recurring staples too, especially in the accessories segment. Who has never dreamt of an immortal Saffiano tote in Prada’s signature orange, fuchsia pink or teal blue? Those building up their basics should also consider the brand’s era-spanning interpretations of the LBD, ranging from fur-trimmed dropped waist dresses with Flapper flair to office-friendly, ever so versatile sheath dresses. For the sartorially daring, embrace Miuccia’s creative mastermind translated into logo-printed denim Boston bags or quirky contrast sole strap sandals with asymmetrical heels. Blurring the boundaries between what’s ugly and beautiful, Prada can be held accountable for the sartorial shift that led to “ugly chic” and, some argue, the upswing for vintage fashion at large. What better way to honour this achievement than to invest in a vintage Prada piece from the archives?
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