Directed and Produced by Paul G Roberts
Written by Zoe Dela Plana and Paul G Roberts
Narrated by Paul G Roberts
Edited by Jake Bugeja
Miuccia Prada is regarded as one of the most influential and enigmatic fashion designers of modern times. For nearly four decades she has displayed her penchant for setting trends and bucking the ideas of her fellow designers, the now 71-year-old together with her CEO partner Patrizio Bertelli has transformed was essentially a small family business into one of the world’s most renowned multi billion dollar fashion houses.
Miuccia Prada is a true iconoclast, and one who never ducked a challenge, under her auteur like direction Prada has blended the old and the new, the ugly and the sublime, the vulgar and the simple, to show off a smorgasbord of original and often unexpected ideas. No two collections have ever looked even vaguely the same, and it’s obvious to any fashionista watching that each well thought-out garment detail has come from one great mind. And the irony of the Prada renaissance under Muiccia started in 1985 with a choice of an unassuming fabric for her bags. Miuccia could have followed the likes of Louis Vuitton by brandishing a leather design with multiple gaudy logos, but instead, Prada went in a completely unheard of direction: choosing a fabric and feel that screamed function rather than fashion.
Pocone—a military-grade nylon that was used by Prada’s grandfather to cover trunks— was the key to Miuccia Prada’s success. It was the last thing that should have worked for a designer handbag, but work it did. Starting with a series of waterproof backpacks, Prada eventually moved onto totes, backpacks and more all including a small black triangle bearing the Prada logo.
Within months, the Pocone bags and backpacks were a global phenomenon, collected, worn and lusted over by the fashion cognoscenti the world over .
The Pocone nylon backpacks were unlike anything else on the market: minimalistic, clean and simple, with the appeal of functionality. The “Vela” bags were born out of Prada’s disdain for the bags of other luxury competitors, which she deemed too formal and traditional. The selling point was the material: industrial nylon, which Prada sourced from factories producing the light-weight, waterproof fabric for military parachutes. What resulted was a complete transformation of what it meant to produce luxury goods – Prada managed to create the most sought-after designer bag, using perhaps the least luxurious material. The nylon bags were a symbol of modernity – it allowed luxury to be subversive and go beyond the superficial. Luxury goods were no longer just a stuffy status symbol, they were also modern and signifiers of a new kind of thinking style setter.