Prada is constantly in the headlines for its long string of nylon successes attributed to the house’s matriarch—and today’s birthday girl—Miuccia Prada. The Italian designer inherited her grandfather’s leather goods company in 1978 and has since transformed it into a multi-billion dollar brand, which makes her one of the most powerful women in the fashion world today.
In 1985, Miuccia introduced a line of Prada handbags that were made of black nylon and four years later, she introduced the house’s first line of women’s ready-to-wear. In 1992, Miu Miu was born. Based off of her own, personal wardrobe, the younger sister brand helped to further define Miuccia’s design cannon of sequins, beads, bejeweling, and kick-skirted dresses. Fun and fanciful, Miu Miu quickly carved out a unique niche in the fashion world and secured a loyal cult following to boot. Some of the most memorable Prada collections include those for Spring 2004, Spring 2008, and Spring 2011. The prevalence of the house’s Spring season is no coincidence; Prada’s whimsy is perennial.
Less than thirty years after Miuccia took creative control, Prada is a fashion powerhouse. But despite her company’s massive success, the core of the business can always been whittled down to the partnership between her and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli. The two have been married for 43 years and Bertelli has controlled the financial side of the business since the very beginning. Family has always been what holds Prada together; the original iteration of the house was founded by Miuccia’s grandfather, Mario Prada in 1913.
In 2015, the designer told British newspaper, The Independent that the key to her success has been never letting go of her fierce individuality. “When I started, everybody hated what I was doing except a few clever people, because it was not for the classic ones—there was something disturbing. And for the super trendy, avant-garde-ists, it was too classic. I always like to move in that space, never please anybody. There is always something disturbing, which is probably what I am, and I like.”
Scroll through for an archival look at Miuccia Prada fitting Carla Bruni in her studio in October 1994.END
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