Luxury-Fashion Pioneer Biography Essay

Miuccia Prada, a fashion designer, focuses on clothing that takes account of womens curves, simultaneously combining her designs with fun and intelligence. Regarding her metier, very few designers exhibit such a unique style, save for the Belgian Martin Margiela. Looking at her background, there is a logical reason for this. Miuccia Bianchi Prada, born in the month of May 1949, hails from Teatro Piccolo, Milan. A zealous feminist in her formative years, she attained a PhD in Political Science and had a stint in politics with the Italian Communist Party. She also spent half a decade studying and performing mime. Her entry into the fashion realm was in the mid-80s, after persuading her family, owner of a luggage business, to generate a line of black nylon, backpacks and handbags. Prada was founded way back in 1913 by Miuccias grandfather, Mario Prada. These were modest and did not have much labelling, discordant with the theme at the time, where designer statements and exaggerated logo clothes were all the rave. Cognoscenti, unmoved by the steep prices wasted little time in taking up the bags, making the Prada brand and emblem of belonging, getting a nod from early fashion enthusiasts. The Prada bag was a must with celebrities and became and later on became a mainstay, along with . She had no recognized design background, let alone needle skills.

Her childhood wardrobe had provoked little along the lines of coquettish. Beige, blue and red pleated skirts were the main pieces in her closet, as she lost herself in the world of fancy clothing. Her mother, Luisa was quite conservative in dress, with a few English pieces, though nothing frivolous. Luisa insisted that her daughter wore flat shoes, in line with what Miuccia refers to as Super-traditional. She somehow had a dream of wearing pink, and these were the sparks of an early dalliance with fashion (Frankel 2008). Later on, the uniqueness in her items came (as is the case to date) from eccentric, unconventional use of shape and pattern as well as the use of high-tech fabric. It is a consequence of her keen exploration of pop culture and her provocative link to more traditional creators of sartorial femininity (Trebay 2008).

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As others in the fashion world happily present themselves as , this designer tries, both at a professional and personal level, to offer herself in a less patronizing, heartfelt way. The restlessness of her essence makes her perfect in as she absorbs the dynamism of her world. To her, the hubbub of fashion lies in the hysterical search for novelty. As to whether it is a good thing or a bad one, she leaves it to the world, but guarantees that it defines the present (Frankel, 2004).

The Practice
In 1989, four years after the Prada bag made its debut Ms Prada believed she was ready for mainstream clothing, through the critically acclaimed autumn/winter collection for that year. She followed this up with her Miu Miu collection, launched three years later. In 1994, her efforts were recognized with her presentation of a Council of Fashion Designers of America International Award. Her austere collections, with undertones of slight disenfranchisement, gave her clothing a distinct voice and presence (Steeel, 2007). The anti-chic ironically became chic worldwide. Her bold aesthetic combinations, forays into patterns and colour combinations that would otherwise be considered perverse, and rejuvenation of ancient materials such as boiled wool and astrakhan are some of the elements by which she continually bewitches the public and fashion aficionados alike. Linked to this, she has a knack for casually pairing thick woollen socks, cocktail dresses, tiaras and fur helmets with traditional office wear, a brazen method of mixing up archived designs and a clear revulsion for modern days straight-jacketed fashion rules. Miuccia Pradas background in making luggage for use by the Milanese elite seems to have contributed to her reflexive desire to ride against the tide. Paying attention to the constantly mutating boundaries of class make has made Prada one of the most powerful cultural exports from Italy (Frankel 2008).

Pradas works show that although creativity comes from within, there are elements around us that may assist in unlocking it. Her thoughtfulness, independence and curiosity led her to show that raincoats remain transparent until they come into contact with water, which in turn makes them opaque. Simple as it may sound, it is the basis for stylish fall and winter wear, especially when combined with trendy garments. Moreover, she makes it clear that fashion is for everyone, from simple to sophisticated, young to old and other comparable parameters. In one of her displays, she showcased a line inspired by 50s souvenir scarves, coupled with quirky tchotchkes (embroidered moccasins made from suede, raffish hats made of straw and beaded bags), that simple housewives may pick up one trip to Venice (Luscombe n.d.). Other examples of her creative work include granny brooches, made of diamond, on fine cashmere twin sets, bowling bags and the use of unlike drab colours such as bottle green. Wearing the Prada brand bestows wearers with an aura of coolness. The combination of sophistication and style expresses a hint of Prada (Berg n. d.).

For those who feel the cost of the Prada label is restrictive, there is always the unmistakable option of Miu Miu. This casual, yet less expensive option maintains the Prada mark of maverick design. Miuccia insists that this alternative is about fashion as opposed to Prada and atmosphere as opposed to sensual. This line was launched in the early 90s and moved to Paris to reduce competition between it and its elder sister, so to speak, Prada. She aimed to achieve a look that she as trashy. Miu Mius DNA, as she put it carries greater irreverence than Pradas. An instance of this is in footwear. Prada appears discreetly distorted while Miu Miu would be plain orthopaedic. Patent Crayola hair bands, made from the finest leather, pleated skirts ala the school-girl type and granny bags have a home at Miu Miu. On the outset, as the line rolled out, she used fabrics that looked cheap to the average eye but were actually very expensive (Frankel 2008).

Indeed a few slip-ups have marked her path, including a purchasing spree she and Patrizio Bertelli, her husband and business partner went on during the 90s. They acquired established labels such as Helmut Lang and Jil Sander, business decisions that lacked profitability. These had to be divested after creating major speed bumps in the firms bid to go public. There were also ambitious construction endeavours in places like Tokyo, Los Angeles and New York, under the services of renowned architects like Herzog & de Meuron and Rem Koolhaas (Trebay 2008).

Miuccia and the Art Fashion Marriage
Miuccia Prada is a symbol of the union between fashion and art. Her influence transcends any single item of clothing or accessory (Thomas, 2007). Her collections portray conceptual audacity, capable of putting a myriad of so-called artists to shame. In addition to this, she has presented herself as a munificent patroness for all items cutting edge. In the same breath, she has given a clear indication that fashion dynamic, fast-moving, intensely embracing globalisation has the capacity to outsmart the more ponderous expressive forms. According to Cathy Horyn of The New York Times, Prada has taught people to observe fashion as abstract, as well as in relation to culture and art. Sarah Mower of adds her voice to this contribution by dubbing Miuccia the most creative, restless force in fashion. To her, art is always a welcome distraction, offering some sort of reprieve from the stresses and strains of the mundane world (Zoe, 2007). She brings light to the truth that while art comes to terms with these lessons, increasing its approachability and growing facile, will this form of expression lose its degree of gravitas (Aspden 2008)?

Prada runs roughly two hundred and fifty stores, spread over sixty-five countries, a testament to the kind of cultural export mentioned earlier. Moreover, Prada products are accessible online. From formal ballroom gowns and bags to menswear, childrens clothing and other ventures like cell phones Prada continues to make large strides in the world of fashion and style (Tungate, 2005). Miuccia herself makes one thing clear: design is about heart, observation and boldness. From elements as simple as the buttons of a coat to the spaces she works, there is an indication of attention to detail on the part of this aficionado. She is very open-minded and accepts criticism whenever it comes her way; it builds her.

Each season, the fashion world waits with bated breath in sheer anticipation of this contrarians works. She has thrown out the conventional fashion yardstick along with the accepted rules to show that it really is all in the mind. Despite being a lover of fashion, she intimates that it should not rule peoples lives, but simply add spice to life. Looking at the arguments presented, it is easy to see why she was named among Time Magazines one hundred most influential persons worldwide. Her style comes off as radical conservatism, especially in the face of a world pervaded by the flaunting of celebrity skin and catwalk theatrics. Paraphrasing her words, she wants to distance herself from what convention labels as sexually appealing (Prada, 2006). At the back of her mind, she works on the notion that it is indeed possible to be very sexy, without having to be obvious. Working against personal tastes and working with what appears wrong and bad makes each endeavour to her interesting, as well as challenging. A strait-laced address to fashion borders on outright anarchy (Frankel 2008). She can only go higher up the ladder, blazing a trail that her peers can barely envisage.

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