The aristocrat Italian designer, Miuccia Prada was born in Italy’s fashion capital Milan on May 10, 1949. She was born into a wealthy family that owned the luxury goods brand Prada since 1913. Over the years, the brand became a household name for fine leather luggage as well as vanity cases, tortoise shell hairbrushes and walking canes designed for the Italian royal family.
In the year 1958, Prada’s grandfather and founder of the luxury brand, Mario Prada died leaving the firm to his daughter-in-law, Luisa. Miuccia studied political science and graduated from the University of Milan in 1970. After two years, she got her PhD. in political science in 1973. Prada’s career started when she took over the family firm after her mother in 1977. But the aristocommunist was quite reluctant to the idea of becoming a fashion designer because in her opinion, fashion was nothing but silly and frivolous. In 1978, Prada met her beau and future husband Patrizio Bertelli who owned a Tuscan leather good factory. His expert advice on handbags was the kind of direction Prada had been looking for. Patrizio became her mentor and also the official manufacturer for Prada bags. It wasn’t long before the two got involved romantically and moved in together. Later, Patrizio was named the CEO of the company by Prada.
In May 1978, Prada launched her first luggage line on the sets of ‘On the Twentieth Century’, a Broadway musical. The luggage line wasn’t very successful in the start; so Prada broadened her horizons by introducing footwear for women in 1979. However, the tables turned in 1985 and Prada’s bags topped on sales, $450 a pop after the release of the black backpack which was made of the same heavyweight nylon once used by the Italian Army. This was the bag that launched a craze for all things Prada among the rich and famous of Italy. Prada went international the next year with her first standalone boutique on New York’s Fifty Seventh Street. Prada tied the knot with Bertelli on Valentine’s Day of 1987. Prada’s women’s wear line debuted at the company’s headquarters in 1988. With the overnight success of her first women’s wear line, Prada came up with her second line called Miu Miu in the fall of 1992.
Prada’s outstanding accessories designs got her an International Award from CFDA in 1994. In March 1995, a foundation for granting funds to upcoming artists to launch their dream project was founded, called Fondazione Prada. Models walked on the runways of the very first VH1 Awards wearing Prada outfits in December. In 1996, a huge Prada flagship store was opened on Madison Avenue, New York. The year 1997 witnessed the launch of the designer’s third clothing line, Prada Linea Rossa which focused on casual wear. Prada’s sportswear was launched in September 1998 called Prada Sport. In May 1999, Prada teamed up with Donatella Versace to dress up Manchester United for the FA Cup Final of 1999. Her first pre-collection show was held in June.
Prada won the Andre Leon Talley Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2003 along with a CFDA International Award in 2004. The Prada family landed a spot in the Forbes’s list of World’s Richest People in 2005 and was named one of Time’s Style & Design Visionaries in 2007. Animation movie, Trembled Blossoms premiered in February 2008 featuring Prada’s spring collection of 2008. In 2012, an exhibition called ‘Prada and Schiaparelli: Impossible Conversations’ took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which was hosted by Vogue’s Anna Wintour and actress Carey Mulligan and Miuccia Prada herself.