The Italian fashion designer, Miuccia Prada was born in Milan on 10th May 1949. Considering her background, Prada seemed an unlikely entrepreneur. She was once a mime student and a member of the Italian Communist Party. Miuccia’s grandfather Mario Prada was the founder of the Prada fashion line which he began in 1913. He manufactured well crafted, high quality hand bags, luggage and steamer trunks for the Milanese elite class. Mario’s youngest granddaughter, Miuccia, studied at the University of Milan earning herself a PhD in political science. Later, she spent 5 years training as a mime.
Miuccia Prada entered the family business in 1978 and worked on uplifting the business that had now become slow and stagnant. With help from her friend, Patrizio Bertelli, whom she would later marry, Prada added her own designs to the company’s merchandise. The brand first became popular in 1985 when they launched a collection of black nylon handbags and backpacks with minimalist labeling. The bags were a huge change in the fashion scene at that time when heavy clothes with bold patterns ruled the industry. Four years down the lane, Prada unveiled their collection of ready to wear women’s wear which became a critic’s and customer’s favorite.
Working together, Miuccia and Patrizio Bertelli, turned Prada into a world renowned brand. In 1992, the company introduced a more affordable line, naming it Miu Miu and three years later came Prada’s menswear line. Since then, Prada has only been on a ladder upwards launching new lines, buying stakes and even competitors such as Church & Company, Helmut Lang, Fendi & Jill Sander. According to a 2002 report, Prada’s annual revenues estimated up to $1.9 billion.
What always sets Miuccia Prada apart from the current fashion scene is probably her seeming disregard for this industry. Prada has always followed her own heart and mind and has never feared taking on to new ventures. Miuccia Prada was honored with the McKim Medal Laureate for achievements in fashion and business in Rome at the Villa Aurelia of the American Academy and in 2012 Prada’s work was showcased at the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art along with the works of the late fashion pioneer Elsa Schiaparelli.