Prada Corporate LogoPrada, SpA is an Italian fashion company (also known as a
"label" or "house") with retail outlets worldwide.
The company, originally known in Italian as Fratelli Prada ("Prada Brothers"),
was founded in 1913 by Mario Prada. In 1978, Mario's granddaughter Miuccia Prada
inherited what was still a leather goods business from her mother, and led the
company's expansion into couture.
Prada's first prêt-à-porter, or "ready-to-wear" collection was designed by
Miuccia Prada in the autumn/winter season of 1989.
In addition to the original Prada line, the company introduced the Miu Miu
collection, a lower-priced line aimed at a younger audience, in 1992. The Miu
Miu line, which shares Miuccia Prada's nickname, emphasizes earthy colors and a
less haute couture look, evoking an overall more bohemian style. In its
advertising campaigns, waif-like models in "home photo" poses further the look.
Miu Miu clothing is often simple, and evokes a continual image of high-end
vintage items. It was followed by the Prada Sport collection, which featured
Prada won a Council of Fashion Designers of America International Award for
accessories in 1993.
As luxury conglomerate
Like the current Gucci and Christian Dior groups, Prada held, for a time, a
portfolio of designer labels under its corporate umbrella.
Following the lead of other companies in a popular trend to absorb as many other
fashion houses as possible, Prada took on large debts when it acquired the
financially floundering Rome-based house of Fendi in the early 1990s. Prada
assumed shares in Fendi with the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesy (LVMH) company.
Prada was unable to turn around/support the money-losing Fendi label, and sold
its Fendi shares to LVMH. Prada is still recovering from this debt.
The Prada Group's other notable purchases in the 1990s were the Helmut Lang and
Jil Sander labels. By 2006, however, the Jil Sander label had been sold, and the
group was planning to sell the Helmut Lang label as well. Jil Sander was sold
to the private equity firm Change Capital Partners, which is headed Luc
Vandevelde, the chairman of Carrefour.
Prada has commissioned international architects, most notably Rem Koolhaas and
Herzog & de Meuron, to design flagship stores in various locations, both as a
marketing and branding concept as well as a differentiating feature.
In 2005, near the West Texas towns of Valentine and Marfa, a pair of
Scandanavian artists, Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, unveiled Prada Marfa,
a sculpture masquerading as a Prada mini-boutique. Located along an isolated
stretch of U.S. Highway 90, the 15 by 25-foot adobe and stucco building was
partially funded by the Prada Foundation.
Prada handbags and accessories are highly counterfeited due to their standing as
a status symbol. Their relatively simple symbol design makes counterfeiting
easy, and buyers may have difficulty discerning between authentic bags and
Normally, counterfeit bags are sold in flea markets, small stores, and on the
internet on auction sites. In June of 2006, a man who had purchased three Prada
handbags from a Sam's Club store in Kentucky sued Wal-Mart (Sam's Club parent
company), alleging that the bags were fake. He had given two of the bags to
his wife and one to his sister, who lived in Italy. When his sister's bag began
falling apart, she took it the Prada factory near her; they informed her the bag