Prada: Designer Fashion House with Royal Roots April 19 2022

Prada. We all know the look, the logo, and the brand. We’ve all seen the dramatic ads in the pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and died a little bit from sheer want.  Prada has always been a designer fashion label that sells colors and prints and often some good old fashioned out-of-the-box-thinking.

Just over a hundred years ago, brothers Mario and Martino Prada opened a store in Milan called Fratelli Prada (Prada Brothers)—they started off selling leather goods (bags, trunks, accessories, etc.). If there was any doubt of the store’s success, just six years later—in 1919—Prada was appointed the “Official Supplier to the Italian Royal Household”—hence the incorporation of the House of Savoy’s coat of arms and knotted rope insignia into the brand’s logo. Unsurprisingly, Prada soon became a favorite store for all of Europe’s upper class.

It is rumored that Mario Prada did not believe women had a place in running a business, so he kept his female relatives out of the operations of the brand.  However, apparently his own son had no interest in taking over the business  so it fell to his daughter Luisa Prada to take over in his stead. Luisa ran the company for almost 20 years before turning it over to her own daughter, Muccia Prada. In 1978, 29-year-old Muccia (Mario’s youngest granddaughter) took over the company—supposedly a former member of the Italian Communist Party and a trained mime, Muccia seemed the unlikely inheritor of the successful fashion brand. She would prove everyone wrong, of course, especially in 1984 when she debuted a line of black nylon backpacks and handbags with simple labeling.  The special nylon material had been launched by Prada in 1950, had been turning heads since then, and was made with a fine twisted weave that made the fabric look silk-like. With Muccia’s direction (and a collaboration with her husband, Patrizio Bertelli), the brand (which some would say had become stagnant at that point) was revitalized.

Prada Spring Summer 2014

In 1993 the couple launched Miu Miu, a new label meant to have the same style ideas as Prada, but at a more affordable price. Prada also unveiled its first men’s line at this time (and thank goodness for that—I think we can all agree Prada makes an incredible suit…and those shoes!).

In the years since Muccia’s take over, the Prada line has grown indefinitely—the overarching Prada Group has continually added design labels to its portfolio, and the brand is producing many different lines—men’s, women’s, shoes, fragrance, handbags, sunglasses and accessories, etc.

Want some Prada of your very own? Check out the shoes we’ve got for sale at Rice and Beans Vintage (see? Told you you can’t beat a good pair of Prada shoes!)—there’s a great pair of leather boots (on sale no less!) and some killer 1970s platform heels. Check them out before someone beats you to it!

Prada Platform Shoes at Rice and Beans Vintage

written by Heather Cox for Rice and Beans Vintage