Fans of the Milanese label Prada tend to have two things in common: an appreciation for intellectualism in design and a desire to wear it in an artful but still pretty way. The brand’s creative head, Miuccia Prada, is known for her ability to divine the future of fashion and launching seismic-force trends that ripple through the industry with impressive—and lasting—effects.
Prada appears to have had a magic touch from the very start. Having earned a doctorate in political science, she had blithely set on a career as a mime when duty called in the form of the family store. Established in 1913 by her grandfather Mario, Fratelli Prada was in its heyday a premier purveyor of luxury leather goods and accessories. But by the late ’70s, the solid, heavy luggage that required a servant or two to wrangle was sorely out of vogue. Prada faced the not-insignificant task of dusting off her family’s staid, if stately, name, and redefining it for the modern era.