Yet, unlike many other Leviathan brands, there is something both unconventional and idiosyncratic in Miuccia Prada’s aesthetic. Much of this may be down to her contradictory character.
Born in Milan in 1950, Miuccia Prada studied political science at the city’s university and was a member of Italy’s Communist Party, yet is said to have worn Yves Saint Laurent on the barricades. The designer, who has made the Wall Street Journal’s ’30 Most Powerful Women In Europe’ list, also spent a period studying to be a mime artist. These dualities have led to her expert ability in balancing the contrary forces of art and commerce within the super-brand, sometimes quite literally: Prada has its own art foundation and has collaborated with the architect Rem Koolhaas on stores in New York (2001) and Los Angeles (2004).
From the late ’90s, the Prada Group embarked upon a policy of rapid expansion, purchasing brands including Azzedine Alaia, Helmut Lang and Church & Co.