"For her total commitment and position as an authentic pioneer among the realms of art, architecture and fashion."
And with this statement, Miuccia Prada was awarded the prestigious McKim Medal, that the American Academy in Rome has given in the past to key figures of Italian culture like Renzo Piano and Umberto Eco.
Against the splendid backdrop of Villa Aurelia atop the Gianicolo, a remarkable gathering of special guests gathered last night to pay tribute to the Italian designer: Afef and Marco Tronchetti Provera to Franca Sozzani, the legendary gallery owner Larry Gagosian (who was in town for this week's many art openings), Jaki Elkann and the celebrity architect Zaha Hadid who will inaugurate the MAXXI museum this evening.
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ďWhen everything has been done, sometimes the only possibility left to be different is the idea of the traditional and the conservative.Ē Miuccia Prada in AnOther A/W03 issue
Ask any fashionista to name their top designers and the name Miuccia Prada is often first on the list. Preferring to stay out of the limelight, she took over the family business in 1978 and transformed it into a global fashion and style brand. Prada says she mainly bases her decisions on intuition and is known for her instinctual ability to forecast trends. Before her A/W09 dark and moody menís show, the designer said this was no time ďto invent things that men wouldnít be interested in. A neo-conservatism seemed new.Ē And so she brought out elements of the 90s, giving way to nylon pullovers, double-breasted grey suits and coats with peak lapels, and over-slim trousers with wide cuffs. This year, according to Prada, her A/W10 menís collection was about real life, reinventing the classics and delving deep into her print archives from the 90s.
Text by Lucia Davies
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Miuccia Prada, one of the most respected and influential fashion designers in the world, and a renowned pioneer of contemporary art, has been selected to announce the winner of the Turner Prize 2010 - the United Kingdom's most publicised and controversial art award.
Ms Prada will anounce the winner during a live broadcast of the award ceremony on Channel 4, on Monday, December 6th.
The four shortlisted artists are Dexter Dalwood, who paints places and situations he has never seen with forensic accuracy, using subject matter such as the death of government weapons expert, Dr David Kelly, and the Charles Manson murders; Angela de la Cruz, whose torn, crumpled canvasses and bits of broken furniture and metal cabinets, suggest deconstruction and human frailty at its most despairing; Susan Philipsz, a Scottish artist known for playing recordings of herself singing over PA systems; and The Otolith Group, whose work explores history, politics, and the essay film. The winner receives £25,000, with £5,000 each to the other short-listees.
The work of the four artists is currently on show at Tate Britain, until January 3rd. The Turner Prize, named after the painter J.M.W.Turner, which began in 1984, represents all media, for visual artists under the age of 50. It has become associated primarily with conceptual art, most notoriously with Damien Hirst's 'Mother and Child Divided', (four tanks containing the severed sections of a cow and calf) which won in 1995, and Tracey Emin's 'My Bed', with stained sheets, knickers and condoms, which was shortlisted in 1999.
Miuccia Prada, the women credited with turning black nylon into the most important fashion statement of the 1980's, with the invention of the 'ugly' fashion aesthetic, and a woman who prizes the psychology of sensuality, is one of the boldest collectors of contemporaryart. She and her husband, the dynamic and volatile, Patrizio Bertelli, established Fondazione Prada in 1995, with the aim of presenting "the most radical intellectual challenges in contemporary art and culture." The Fondazione has staged numerous exhibitions, including works by Sam Taylor-Wood, Anish Kapoor, and Marc Quinn, at the Prada HQ on the via Fogazzaro, in Milan - which is also used as a catwalk space for Prada's autumn/winter and spring/summer fashion shows.
Ms Prada was the first to work with ground-breaking architects to set new frontiers in store design, and collaborated with the Pritzker Prize laureates, Rem Koolhaas and Herzog & de Meuron, to create the 'Epicenter' stores in New York (2001), Tokyo (2003), and Los Angeles (2004). One of Prada's most ambitious cultural projects was an installation-gallery-building, called the Prada Transformer, in Seoul, last year.
In 2005, Time Magazinenamed Miuccia Prada as one of the 100 most influential people in the world for 'having provoked and influenced colleagues for years with her eccentric and highly personal sensibility.'
At her office in Milan, at Prada HQ, the designer can, if she feels like 'slipping out for a moment', literally do exactly that, leaving via a space-age slide - a 'Fifth Element'-style stainless steel funnel which juts out of the floor and spirals down through the brickwork to the courtyard below. The slide is a work of art by the German artist Carsten HŲller, who installed five similar slides at the Tate Modern, in 2006.
BEIJING ó ďThere are fashionable people here that you wouldnít even find in Paris, New York or London,Ē Miuccia Prada said of the burgeoning Chinese market. ďThey have already understood everything that they had to understand.Ē
And Pradaís company wants to tap further into that growing understanding. The luxury goods house last weekend staged its first-ever runway show in China at this cityís Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum, displaying a slightly revamped spring collection. The show is part of Pradaís plan to continue to expand in the region as it opens more stores in Mainland China and nearby territories.
ďIn a country like this, there is a special desire for rich products,Ē Prada told WWD in an exclusive interview in which she discussed a vast range of subjects, including her companyís potential initial public offering, the challenges of globalization, fast fashion and her views on the art world.
Clad in a thick navy sweater, pleated white cotton skirt and platform heels, with hair still wet from a shower just moments earlier, Prada spoke from her Park Hyatt suite overlooking the expansive urban sprawl of Beijing. Still nursing her jet lag, which she put to good use by working at the show venue past 3 a.m. the night before, she marveled at how quickly the country had changed since her first visit, in the Eighties.
Catering to Chinaís increasingly moneyed clientele, for the show on Saturday the designer ditched the cotton pieces that dominated her September show in Milan and created new versions of her opening monochromatic looks in radzmire silk. She also revisited her flapper-style striped dresses, strappy heels and clutch bags by coating them in sequins. Similarly, canvas bags from the Milan show were redone in silk or saffiano leather for Beijing. The clothing from the show was made available made-to-order at Pradaís stores in China and Hong Kong the day after the show.
The event drew the likes of actresses Gong Li and Maggie Cheung and featured a lively after party with a performance by the Pet Shop Boys, whom the house flew in for the occasion.
The festivities reignited chatter about whether the company that Miuccia Prada owns along with her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, Pradaís chief executive officer, will finally go public after years of flirting with potential investors. Most recently, it emerged the company is looking at listing in Hong Kong to capitalize on the regionís wealth and desire for luxury names. On that score, Bertelli told WWD, ďUp until now we havenít made a definitive decision. At this point, we think a listing in Hong Kong is the most opportune solution. In the coming months, we will evaluate the timetable and the details.Ē
The executive, who had to cancel his trip to Beijing at the last minute, also said via e-mail that the group plans to open a significant number of new stores in Asia over the next three years and expects to attain significant growth in the region. Prada currently has 14 stores in Mainland China, nine in Hong Kong and two in Macau, and this year plans to open nine stores in Mainland cities such as Harbin, Guangzhou, Changchun and Hangzhou.
The company said 2010 revenues in China, Hong Kong and Macau rose 75 percent from 2009, to 389 million euros, or $529.4 million at current exchange. That represents nearly 20 percent of the groupís total turnover.
Here, Pradaís thoughts on China, the IPO, politics, the Internet and more:
WWD: With this show in China, is this the first time you have presented special pieces for a specific market?
Miuccia Prada: It was an adaptation for a special evening. Also the idea of doing the same identical show would mean the excitement level would drop. The pieces in striped cotton became sequined. There was a festive upgrade. Here, they donít love cotton uniforms, so we enhanced the part of the show [made with less expensive materials]. In a country like this, there is a special desire for rich products. A [lower-end] product might not be well received.
WWD: Do you think globalization has made the creative process more difficult because you have to think about all of these individual markets?
M.P.: I think absolutely yes. I always say that up until the Seventies, fashion was white, Catholic, Western. Now fashion embraces the whole world with [different] religions, costumes, et cetera, et cetera. Before, it reflected the spirit of a small group. There is just one collection, and we donít make specific things for specific markets, but [the clothes] try to accommodate a world which has become a lot bigger. Itís a lot more difficult in this senseÖ[but] I think it enriches [the design experience] because itís bigger.
WWD: One day could you make separate collections for different markets?
M.P.: I donít know. Germany is sportier, America is more minimal. Theyíre small differences. I donít know how to say it in a more simple way, but the rich are the same all over the world. The intellectuals are the same all over the world.ÖIt has always been this way. What pleases, pleases everywhere. Perhaps Japan is the only country that retains a bit of differentiation right now.
WWD: What do you think is different there?
M.P.: Itís a little different from the others. There is something about that country that escapes me.
WWD: We are really curious about your decision to open new design studios in Paris and Hong Kong. Why did you decide to do this, and how will it work?
M.P.: We decided to do this because not everyone wants to live in Milan.ÖI made a curious twist on the French word fl‚ner, which means that when the people wanted to understand what was happening, they strolled the city. Now people travel the world. People really spend one day here, one day there, and then they want to spend two years here and two years there. Iíd say it was almost a practical necessityÖalso itís clearly an opportunity to get some young minds, fresher minds.
WWD: And the work in these offices will influence the design office back in Milan?
M.P.: Definitely. [The new system] is not yet functional, but I imagine that they will think of ideas and they will make sketches and send them to Milan. Maybe they wonít come to anything, or perhaps they will be useful. Regardless, the concept is a good thing. The world is big now. If you continue to think in the same way, youíll restrict yourself to a small world. So this is also an effort at becoming more open. We open stores everywhere, we have offices everywhere, so itís right to do this as well.
WWD: But does this mean the creative possibilities within Milan and Italy are limited?
M.P.: Letís say that no one city is enough. In the end, Iím the one that does the things. But the idea of being more directly connected to other countries is important. And definitely there is a lot of turnover of young people in design studios. So, for example, the opening of an office in Paris is very useful in this sense.
WWD: So youíre trying to attract new talent?
M.P.: More than to attract people, itís for preventing the continual poaching of talent [laughs].
WWD: Is there a possibility that you could open other studios in other cities in the future?
M.P.: Not for the moment. For now, letís see how things start and how things work with these first two.
WWD: Will you travel personally to these two cities?
M.P.: I donít know. Probably while Iím in Paris, Iíll definitely go thereÖ[but] they will be the ones who will be coming to Italy.
WWD: Do you come to China often?
M.P.: About once a year.
WWD: What do you think of the culture, the people?
M.P.: I really like this country. Iíve always liked it. I came the first time in the Eighties. Itís rather startling to see the differences every year. They are moving at such a fast pace.ÖThere are fashionable people here that you wouldnít even find in Paris, New York or London. They have already understood everything that they had to understand. Then later, theyíll follow their own pathÖ.The market is still small compared to the European, American or Japanese markets.
WWD: But itís clear you are investing a lot in the country with new stores.
M.P.: Honestly, weíre investing a little, like we invest everywhere. Itís not as if we treat China in a way that is different than the other countries.ÖItís another big country that will be our market.
WWD: What is your view of Italy today?
M.P.: A question worth a hundred million. [Laughs] I prefer not to answer.
WWD: In your past, you were very active politically.
M.P.: I prefer not to speak about Italy because you risk saying banal things.ÖRegardless, Italy is always an exceptional country, soÖI have no intention to speak badly about my country. [Chuckles] Also because itís true that Italy has all of the defects of this world, but itís the country where perhaps one lives the best in this world. We are a country withÖthe most beautiful, most pleasurable things, an incredible historical wealth. So letís be happy with what we have.
WWD: I read in a previous interview that one day youíd like to enter politics. Is this true?
M.P.: Yes, itís true.
WWD: So itís something you are considering seriously?
M.P.: Probably, yes.
M.P.: Because politics have always been a little of my passion. And now I [could] use my work as a tool to do things other than fashion.
WWD: Obviously everyone has been talking about the possibility of a Prada IPO for years. If the company were to become a public one, could it potentially limit your creativity or, for example, the way financial resources are used?
M.P.: To start with, everyone is talking, and we havenít said anything. So weíll talk when we talk. Everybody says [we postponed the IPO] five times. But this five times was invented by other people. We tried it once, but then [there was Sept. 11, 2001] and we didnít do it. Everything else was always said by other people.ÖAnd if we make this decision, which hasnít been made yet, I donít think anything will change at all, because itís a company [that has operated in a transparent way] for years now. The numbers are more public than those of companies already listed on the stock exchange. Honestly, I donít think weíll even notice.
WWD: Everyone is talking about technology and the speed at which everyone can see collections on the Internet immediately after they are presented. Consumers have a direct relationship with fashion houses and are less dependent on newspapers and magazines for information. Recently Tom Ford criticized this immediacy and banned photographers from his runway show. What do you think of all this? Does the technology bring more positive or negative influences to fashion?
M.P.: I think that, for now, this is the way it is. You canít avoid it. Itís like being in denial about the future. The future will be even more like this because itís an opportunity thatís so big and convenient. I donít use a computer, but I see everyone around me using them. Itís immediate access to information, a way of communicating. I think itís a real, great revolution, perhaps bigger than the Industrial Revolution. I say itís just another, extra job. Itís not like itís not necessary to work with [the press]. Itís not like you donít need to do everything else. Itís just that you have to also take care of this thing. Every company uses it in its own way for what it believes is useful. We have done a lot of things. All of our films.ÖLike we always do with everything, we are trying to understand what is really the most intelligent thing, the most subtle thing that speaks to us. Sometimes people criticize us because we arenít technological enough, because we donít sell on the InternetÖbut [to have people] click on a runway show and sell it, I donít think thatís the essence of the change.
WWD: Do you read blogs?
M.P.: I have reports sent over. Every week I have a summary sent over of the positive blogs, the negative blogs and the interesting blogs. I read them on paper.
WWD: Have you found any of them particularly interesting?
M.P.: Itís interesting to see what is making the rounds, what people are talking about. All of our work as designers is to understand what people are thinking, where the world is going, how things work. Itís one of many sources of information.ÖItís not that I do it to do my job better. I do it because it interests me.ÖDefinitely everything that leads me to know more about whatís happening probably makes my work more interesting. At least I hope so.
MILAN Ė Prada SpA announced Thursday that it will go ahead with an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
ďOur strategy of expansion worldwide, carried out with a strict cost control policy, led to a significant growth in revenues and profitability and further reinforced our position as one of the leaders in the luxury goods market,Ē stated Patrizio Bertelli, chief executive officer of Prada. ďStrengthened by these results and confident in the future development of the group, we can now face the coming challenges with serenity and seize the best opportunities offered by the international capital markets.Ē
Banca Imi-Intesa Sanpaolo Group, UniCredit, CLSA-Crťdit Agricole Group and Goldman Sachs will act as joint global coordinators and joint book runners.
No other details Ė including timing or size of the stake that will be put on the market Ė were immediately available.
It turns out the venue choice for F/W 11 show wasn't a coincidence, browsing through the web I found a very interesting article. Sounds exciting already!
Prada - Palais d’Iťna for Paris Fashion Week
March 8, 2011
By The Snob
The Conseil …conomique, Social et Environnemental, third constitutional assembly of the French Republic, and the Prada Group announce an agreement for the use of the Palais d’Iťna, the institution’s headquarters located in Place d’Iťna in the centre of Paris. The first event planned to take place in the building is the Miu Miu Fall/Winter 2011 fashion show, scheduled for today March 9th 2011, during Paris Fashion Week.
The agreement between the Prada Group and the Palais d’Iťna, seat of the CESE, for the first time ever combines the richness of French cultural and architectural heritage, as interpreted by Auguste Perret, and the artistic and contemporary design of a trendsetting and innovative Italian fashion brand. The agreement foresees the use of the building by the Prada Group for the organisation of cultural, artistic or fashion events, in synergy with the CESE. Profits from the agreement will contribute to the preservation of the historical building.
It’s the first time that the CESE grants the use of these spaces for activities which are not related to its mission. The President of CESE, Jean-Paul Delevoye, hopes that the Palais d’Iťna will become a “Home for Citizens”; a place where talks, events, meetings and culture, as well as the variety and the multitude of human activities, can find ample space. Solemn but warm, symmetric and luminous, robust and delicate, the building designed by Auguste Perret was created to give space to the force of citizen debates and to the vitality of economic, social and cultural activities, whether they be French or international. The Prada Group has always identified in the different aspects of culture, one of the core elements of its activity, committing to projects and initiatives where architecture, art and cinema have a central role.
Jean-Paul Delevoye and Miuccia Prada wanted this project to combine the creativity of the brand with the architectural innovation of Palais d’Iťna, sovereign refuge described by Auguste Perret as “a combination of facades which are destined to challenge change and trends, and behind which one will be able to accommodate, throughout the years, any requests one desires, according to requirements.”