Why does the Devil Wear Prada?
We do not know how Italy would have looked like without Leonardo, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Botticelli, Ficino, Bruno, Palestrina, Paganini, Fellini, Pasolini or Sophia Loren. But we can certainly say how contemporary fashion would have looked like without Prada.
Without much doubt, and without much controversy, in a relatively short time Miuccia Prada took over the company and turned it, alongside with her life and business partner Patrizio Bertelli in what we know today as Prada. Miuccia’s flair for beauty, innovation, avant-garde, volumetry and color combined with the exceptional entrepreneurial spirit of Bertelli shortly positioned Prada as one of the world’s strongest players in the industry of beauty and luxury. The company was founded by Mario Prada in 1913, and in 1978, when Miuccia Prada took over the turnover, it was worth somewhere around $ 450,000. In the 36 years since the management change and especially because of the new vision, Prada recorded a turnover of over $ 3.59 billion in 2013, with 250 stores worldwide and over 11,500 employees. However, Prada business data are crooked and of course spiced with elements which will not be covered in this discussion. What matters to be discussed and analyzed is how Prada managed (1) not to ‘sell’ the name and (2) to remain one of the leading players in the global vanguard of the fashion industry.
Year after year, season after season, collection after collection, Prada has delivered discreetly and without appeal permanent universal coercive lessons to the fashion industry. Soon the fashion epicenter (Paris) was shaken and had to accept to share the title with Milan – automatically engraved on any product signed Prada.
The psychosis and hysteria created by Prada products in the contemporary consumer society are based on a simple philosophy which itself contains a trap hard to avoid: reverse snobbery. Prada simply controlls the future and this is not a hazardous statement. To understand the mechanism of ideas, the reversible dynamic but mostly what ‘it will follow” is an ability that not only comes from an entrepreneurial know-how, but rather from a true native visionary capacity. Prada always surprises even when it refers to one of its basic philosophies: “anti status”. Prada does not go on following the rules created by others or trends hardly analyzed and delivered by large agencies. Prada makes the rules. Prada creates trends. Prada is always a trend.
Prada’s products contain a double secret hard to decipher even by the finest industry observers. Anyone (regardless of status, intellectual or aesthetic training etc.) can fall in love almost instantly with Prada products. Shape, color, design, the message correctly positioned competes in an almost diabolical balance to the celebration of beauty. On the other hand, once the product itself is bought, dressed used, the person herself becomes magic in one way or another – exactly what she always wanted: beautiful, distinct, elegant, noble etc. Therefore, Prada products have created a true addiction (almost) justified if we think that today’s society, especially the current fashion is full of hypnotic choruses who stutter completely unfulfilled promises.
Undoubtedly when you say Prada you do not say only clothes, bags and perfumes. You automatically say art. In 1993 Prada understood that fashion can and should develop in the vicinity of art by and set up the association “PradaMilanoArte”. Later this idea became a philosophy itself implemented in the ” Fondazione Prada” Around this idea, arts like cinema, photography, architecture, design revolve perfectly. Artists like Anish Kapoor, Michel Heizer, Louise Bourgeois, Dan Flavin, Walter de Maria, Maiko Mori were celebrated by “Fondazione Prada” in a widely acclaimed retrospective of the specialized media.
Prada doesn’t sells an illusion even though it might look like it when you when you look into the reflecting window of a Prada shop, by standing on the pavement. Prada does not judge or ask you to step into a third-rate world at odds with yourself. Prada is one of the great artisans of contemporary universal history who, like the figures mentioned in the first sentence of this article, brings back to our lives our beauty and in particular our personality. And for this reason, but mostly for all the unsaid things I really think the devil wears Prada.