On the other hand, some critics think Miuccia Prada doesn’t make clothes for women’s bodies but for their brains; others say that her greatest talent is her extraordinary vision to foresee cultural changes, adding that she has the gift of designing what she likes to wear, and what she likes to wear is immediately accepted.
Behind her tremendous success, undeniable talent and clarity of ideas, there is a lot of work. For that reason, she had to wait until the early 1990s to reap the rewards of her efforts. It all began in 1985 with the design of her simple and, now mythical, black backpack, inspired by the idea that common materials could look like noble materials and vice versa. She had found an ally in the black nylon used by the Italian army to make parachutes, a tough, lightweight and waterproof component. Although initially it did not sell well, in a few years it became the most desired accessory of the nineties, marking Miuccia Prada’s ascent to the pinnacle of the fashion universe.
In 1989, she introduced her first ready-to-wear collection to great success, and three years later, she presented a more affordable second line called Miu Miu, named after her childhood nickname and inspired by her own wardrobe, another nod to her rebellious spirit. She told Time magazine that the line reflected, “the bad girls I met in college, the ones I envied.” Her Uomo collection of 1993 was her introduction to menswear, and that same year she received the CFDA International Award, a prestigious prize she would win again ten years later for her extraordinary vision and ability to anticipate and lead changes in fashion.
Around this time (early 2000s) she became interested in art, first as a collector and later as a promoter, opening the Fondazione Prada in 2002, an institution devoted to contemporary art, which offers artists the chance to realize their dream projects. In 2001, her name appeared on FORBES list of the richest people in the world, and in 2005, she was included in the annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people, according to Time magazine. In recent years, she has created costumes for different artistic venues, such as the costume design for Baz Luhmann’s film The Great Gatsby, which was based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic novel and takes us back to the Golden Age of the Roaring Twenties.
Miuccia Prada has made public her desire to delve into politics, a world that always attracted her. After all, she earned a doctorate in political science in 1993 from the University of Milan. She is passionate about her work as a designer, but as she says, it is just her job. Her interests and concerns are directed elsewhere, for example, towards art and politics. ■