Prada Fashion HouseJan.08, 2010
“… Dusky eyes dazed. Mascara blacker than enigma. The mood is porcelain. Her dreams are weaving behind windows. “
Dreams Pradaesque by Beatrice Lao
Prada Fashion House is an Italian fashion brand designed by Mario Prada. Prada specializes in luxury goods for men and women (ready-to-wear, leather accessories, shoes, and luggage and hats, sunglasses and cell phones recently).
The company was started by Prada Brothers (italian “Fratelli Prada”) and by Mario Prada as a leathergoods shop in Milan, Italy. The logo for the label, the Prada silver-and black triangle, was not a design element as those on bags from other prominent luxury brands such Gucci or Giorgio Armani. Its appeal was its image of “anti-status” or “reverse snobbery.”
At first Prada shop sold leather goods and imported steamer trunks and handbags from England.
Thus Prada Fashion House began gaining reputation. As Mario Prada did not believe in poositive women interaction within business, he prevented female family members from entering into his workshop.
Only after his death in the mid-1950s, it was Mario’s daughter-in-law who in 1978 inherited the company which sales by the time were up to U.S. $450,000 and took the helm of Prada, managing it for almost twenty years (Mario’s son took no interest in the business). Her own daughter, Miuccia Prada, joined the company in 1970. Thus Prada empire matriarchate began.
Miuccia began making waterproof backpacks and nylon totes. They were made out of a tough military spec black nylon that her grandfather had used as coverings for steamer trunks and became her first commercial hit. Miuccia Prada says she bases her decisions mostly on intuition. And her intuition helps her to stay entirely in charge of the companies creative decisions.
In 1977 Miuccia met Patrizio Bertelli, an italian entrepreneur who had begun his own leathergoods business at the age of 17. Soon Bertelli joined the company. He advised Miuccia on better decisions for the Prada Fashion House. It was his advice to discontinue importing English goods and to change the existing luggage styles. Thus Miuccia followed the advices.
In 1984 the house of Prada began expansion across continental Europe by opening locations in prominent shopping districts within Florence, Paris, Madrid, and New York City.
A shoes line was also released that year. In 1985 Miuccia released the classic Prada handbag which went on to become an overnight sensation. It was practical and fashionable, functional and sturdy.
In 1987, Miuccia and Bertelli married. Since then Miuccia’s husband Bertelli became responsible for the commercial side of the products and the retail strategy.
Prada brand launched its women’s ready-to-wear collection in 1989, and the designs came to be known for their dropped waistlines and narrow belts.
Prada’s Fashion House popularity skyrocketed the fashion world because of its clean lines, the House of Prada designs reflecting the feminine worker aesthetic, which made it quite unique in contrast to other fashion brands.
The signature Prada look fits luxurious fabrics in mostly black, browns, grays, greens, and creams to create simple, yet provocative styles. Without showing much of a body Prada clothes give absolute confedence.
In 1990 sales were reckoned at $31.7 million. Partrizio took charge of the growing business in the United States after working for the house in Asia. By now the House of Prada operated in 40 locations worldwide, 20 of which were in Japan.
In1992, the clothing brand Miu Miu, named after Miuccia’s nickname, launched. Miu Miu catered to younger consumers by offering apparel constructed out of “tacky synthetic fabrics” in a high-end style. Prada Sport line went right after Miu Miu. And by 1993 Prada was awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America award for accessories.
Men’s ready-to-wear collections were launched in the mid-1990s. By 1994, sales were at $210 million, with clothing sales accounting for 20%.
Today the company ownes eight factories and 84subcontracted works from other manufacturers in Italy. Miuccia’s Prada and Bertelli companies were merged to create Prapar B.V. in 1996. The name, however, was later changed to Prada B.V. and Patrizio Bertelli was named Chief Executive Officer of the Prada luxury company.
Prada also acquired shares in the Gucci group, and later blamed Gucci for “aping his wife’s designs.” However, Bertelli sold his shares to Mo?t-Hennessy • Louis Vuitton chairman Bernard Arnault in January 1998 for a profit of US$140 million.
During 1999-2000s Prada Fashion House bought controle share in such world-known companies like Fendi, Helmut Lang, Jil Sander и Azzedine Alaia. But despite of these acquisitions, the company was still in debt.
Prada’s mergers and acqisitiojn slowed in the 2000s.
By 2006, most acquared companies were sold.
It is known that Prada manufactures its wares in Italy, apparently keeping labor costs down by using Chinese laborers at the plants. Moreover Prada is the main buyer from the Turkish leather factory DESA, which was found guilty by the Turkish Supreme Court of illegally dismissing workers. So Prada was called by The Clean Clothes Campaign, a labor rights organization based in Europe, to ensure that freedom of association is respected at the factory.
In May 2007, Prada joined forces with cell phone maker LG Electronics to produce the LG Prada KE850 phone. The retail price was $800.
And in 2009, KF900, the second generation of the phone, was launched in Europe. With 3G capability, the phone featured a new sliding QWERTY keyboard, which made it bulkier, but functional. The phone also worked with the new Prada Link watch, which users can use to view text messages via a Bluetooth connection to their phone.
According to Fortune, Betelli plans on increasing revenue of the company to $5 billion by 2010.
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