Miuccia Prada is one of the most influential voices in fashion and while she may appear soft-spoken, there’s nothing reserved about the designer. Here are 10 things you may not know about the woman behind Marc Jacobs’ infamous pencil skirts.
- She has a unique background. Not only does Prada have a Ph.D. in political science, according to an interview she did with New York magazine, she spent five years training and performing as a mime before joining the Prada family business in 1978.
- She thinks we are too obsessed with youth, but is afraid to lead change. “It is much more of a drama for women, the business of aging. No one wants to age, and I really think we should find a solution. Especially because we live so much longer,” she said in an interview with T Magazine. When asked why she doesn’t occasionally use older models, she retorted that she works in a commercial, not artistic world, before adding, “Let’s say I’m not brave enough. I don’t have the courage.”
- Prada stands behind her high price points, saying that it costs a lot of money to not only produce her designs, but produce them in the right conditions. In an interview with WWD, she also called out “intellectual leftists” who criticize the dangerous production environments, but feel that inexpensive fashion is more democratic. “This,” she says, “is an example of hypocrisy.”
- She thinks Italian fashion is at risk. In an interview with La Repubblica, translated by WWD, the designer says that Italian fashion is at risk given the growing number of brands being sold to foreigners, which in turn devalues the credit and glamour of Italian fashion. She blames the shift on the Italian media because it often dismisses fashion as frivolous, while also calling out left-leaning politicians who “remain diffident toward wealth and glamour.”
- She’s married to her business partner. Around the same time she joined her family business, Prada met Patrizio Bertelli, who would later become her husband and the chief executive of Prada, Miu Miu and shoemakers Church’s and Car Shoe (the two are now co-CEOs). She has said that he is the driving influence behind her work and credits him with turning her family business into a multi-billion dollar empire. The two, however, are known for having explosive fights. “We work hard. It’s always an intense relationship, and it’s exhausting having to work with him. But I admire and respect him,” she told The Wall Street Journal.
- She makes multi-millions every year, but her husband makes more. When Prada went public, it had to reveal all of its financial statements as part of the IPO. Safe to say that the designer is living comfortably. In 2010 alone, she made 9.7 million euros, while her husband took in 10 million euros. Forbes estimates her wealth at $12.4 billion.
- She has finally come to terms with being a feminist working in fashion. In an interview with Newsweek, Prada revealed that because she’s a feminist, for a very long time she hated the idea of working in fashion, noting that she only recently stopped feeling ill at ease about it. “I realized that so many clever people respect fashion so much,” she explained before adding that she sees fashion as a way of investigating architecture, art and film.
- She doesn’t give into peer pressure. Despite being called out by Giorgio Armani on multiple occasions for opting to show her Miu Miu collections in Paris instead of Milan, the designer refuses to budge, explaining that she needs the extra days between Milan and Paris Fashion Week to pull together both collections.
- She thinks less is more, telling The Guardian that she thinks people who dress badly are ignorant and that she doesn’t understand “someone who has a beautiful house and paintings and dresses badly,” but she is staunchly against women showing too much skin. In fact, she believes that the sexier you dress, the less sex you will have.
- She respects Marc Jacobs as much as he respects her. Marc Jacobs has expressed his love for Prada and her designs on a number of occasions and she too has singled him out. When asked by W to name designers she admirers, she remained mum, but did reveal that she has a mutual respect for Jacobs: “We worked together in Venice. He’s nice.”
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