Sunday, January 20th
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"I don't believe in people who think that clothes are not important."
A Doctor of Political Science, Miuccia Prada launched her fashion career reluctantly in 1978. After a relatively quiet 7 years in the business, Prada designed the now ubiquitous Prada bag - a line of fine nylon black bags that really were the start of the current Prada legacy. She followed up this success with and eponymous ready-to-wear collection for autumn/winter 1989. The plain, almost austere lines of her designs provided a stark contrast to the overtly sensual designs of other labels of the time and one admiring fashion journalist described Prada's clothes as "uniforms for the slightly disenfranchised". In 1992, she debuted the less expensive bridge line Miu Miu (Miuccia's nickname), inspired by her personal wardrobe of earthier, hippyish garments in natural fabrics and colours. Clean and stylish designs, fine materials and exquisite craftsmanship conspired to win Prada a Council of Fashion Designers of America International Award in 1993. A year later, she showed in New York for the first time and opened her London boutique. She now shows for Prada and Miu Miu twice a year in Milan. Miuccia met her husband and business partner Patrizio Bertelli at the same time she took the helm of the family company and credits him with much of the lines financial success. It was under Bertelli's sway that the design house started making moves towards becoming an international conglomerate to rival LVMH in 1999/2000, adding such top flight labels as Fendi, Helmut Lang, Jil Sander and Azzedine Alaia to its portfolio of brands. Later in 2007, the brand returned to its roots, selling Jil Sander and Azzedine Alaia back to the designers and selling Helmut Lang as well.
Miuccia Prada is a woman of great contradictions. She has a PhD in Political Science, which she followed with five years studying mime. She leads one of the most successful design houses and has said regarding fashion, "I love fashion, but I think it should stay in its place, not rule your life. It's a very nice part of your life, but I think it should be fun."