It is the first among Italian listed companies, with a compound of 55bn dollars, and a turnover of more than 3.5bn. A success based on creativity and strong quality standards

Patrizio Bertelli e Miuccia Prada

Patrizio Bertelli e Miuccia Prada

There’s an example where the exception proves more important than the rule – when Prada is the exception. In our collective imagination, no global luxury brand is able to upset the norm by artistically redefining what isn’t the norm as much as Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli. This couple guides the ship of a group immersed in contemporary inspirations and therefore they’ve been able to stand imposingly outside of the present moment.  

Prada isn’t only original or unique, innovative or cutting-edge. Prada is the synthesis between thesis and antithesis, between retro and futurism, between understatement and experimental provocation, between cerebral couture and a seductive spirit. Prada designs its fashion and determines its time. A continual process ever since 1913, when Mario Prada – Miuccia’s grandfather – opened his exclusive and elegant shop for travel gear, accessories and luxury items in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan.

In no time at all the shop began the preferred destination of the aristocracy and the most refined and elegant members of the high bourgeoisie in Europe. In 1919, it received the patent as the Official Supplier to the Royal House of Italy. Since that moment, Prada has been able to adorn its label with the crest and bow of the Royal House of Savoy.

Collaboration between Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli began towards the end of the 1970s. Bertelli was pioneering in bringing in a new entrepreneurial model to the luxury sector, based on direct and internal control of all the processes and applying strict quality criteria along the entire productive cycle. Miuccia Prada’s creativity imposes itself on the international focus to her innovative approach that draws inspiration from observing the non-conventional in society, allowing her to anticipate and often dictate trends in fashion and style.  Thanks to this coupling of entrepreneurial spirit and creativity, together the pair have been able to give life to an empire of luxury, which occupies top spot among fashion companies listed on the stock exchange with more than $55 billion euros in capitalisation (02.05.2016). In 2014 alone, the company was able to publish overall sales of more than €3.5 billion.

The parameters of the business today encloses the labels of Prada, Miu Miu (Miuccia Prada’s alternative spirit: a brand with a big personality, as provocative and sophisticated as it is casual and avant-garde), Church’s (a global leader in classic men’s luxury footwear), and Car Shoe (the inventor of driving loafers with a soft sole and small gum pimples licensed in 1963). Furthermore, in March 2014, Prada acquired 80% of Marchesi, an historic bakery in Milan, thereby extending their notion of luxury to the palate as well.

Today the group is present in more than 70 countries with 612 boutiques, employing more than 10,000 workers and relying on 13 privately-owned factories: 11 in Italy, one in Great Britain and one in France. A network of foreign producers is rigorously selected for qualities of craftsmanship, quality and trustworthiness. All the stages of production are directly monitored and controlled: from choosing the materials to purchasing (for foreign suppliers as well); from the prototype stage to planning, all the way through to coordinating domestic and foreign production.

At the end of the 1990s, Prada wanted to explore the concept of shopping by aiming at new and avant-garde foundations, collaborating with Rem Koolhaas and Herzog & de Meuron – the winners of architecture’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize (the Pritzker Prize). The objective was to reimagine the shop in an innovative way; the result was the Prada Epicentres – unique and unmistakeable buildings in New York, Tokyo and Los Angeles. They became reference points in an urban and cultural context in which they were not far away from and complementary to the traditional Prada boutiques. In 1993, the Prada Foundation was added. The new headquarter, designed by the architectural firm OMA, was inaugurated in Milan in May 2015.