(b Milan, May 10, 1949).
Italian fashion and accessory designer for the Prada and Miu Miu labels. Prada is considered one of the most influential tastemakers in the world, as well as one of the most powerful businesswomen in Europe. Her ability to create clothes that distill the essence of vintage styles, while at the same time being thoroughly modern, has earned her the reputation as one of fashion’s undisputed trendsetters. Often referred to as ‘the thinking woman’s designer’, Prada has long rejected the traditional ideals of beauty and—through her clothes—has built an empire based on what the New York Times referred to as ‘intellectualized dressing that became chic by being anti-chic’.
Prada’s paternal grandfather Mario Prada founded Fratelli Prada, a leather-goods company, opening his first shop in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan in 1913. The company, which specialized in oggetti di lusso, or luxury objects, became known for an expensive leather travel case fitted with crystal vessels. Before long, the name Prada had become synonymous with luxury and, within five years of opening his shop, Mario Prada was appointed by the Italian royal family to make valises, trunks and cases from leather, walrus, alligator and other exotic materials. As a tribute to the family’s legacy of luxury craftsmanship, the first shop is now the flagship Prada store—where such vintage items as ivory-handled walking sticks, tortoiseshell brushes and beauty cases made from elephant skins are proudly displayed as reminders of the company’s illustrious past....