Prada was founded in 1913 by Mario Prada, Miuccia Prada’s grandfather, in Milan.
Located in the prestigious Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Prada was an exclusive, stylish store selling luggage, accessories and luxury goods, in fine materials and of sophisticated workmanship.
The Milan store quickly became a firm favorite with the Italian aristocracy and the most sophisticated members of the European elite. In 1919 Prada received the warrant of “Official Supplier of the Italian Royal Household”, and since then has been able to display the royal Savoy coat of arms and figure-of-eight knots alongside the company logo.
Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli started working together in the late 70’s, laying the foundations of the international expansion that was to come. Patrizio Bertelli broke new ground in the luxury goods sector, introducing a new business model in which he kept direct, internal control over all processes, applying uncompromised quality criteria across the entire production cycle. Miuccia Prada’s creative talent and avant-garde approach attracted the attention of the global fashion industry, while her ability to look at the world from an unconventional vantage point allowed her not only to anticipate, but quite often, to set new trends.
The luxury group now produces men's and women's leather goods, clothing and footwear, combining contemporary, cutting-edge sophistication with one-of-a-kind, sublimely-crafted products. Prada also operates in the eyewear, fragrance, mobile phone sectors and confectionery.
The Prada brand is part of the Prada Group, a global powerhouse in the luxury goods market, as well as a business icon. The group’s business model, capable of combining industrialized processes with sophisticated workmanship, top quality and the level of detail characteristic of craft production, set a world precedent. The Prada group also includes: Miu Miu - Miuccia Prada’s “other soul” - a brand with a strong personality and as provocative and sophisticated as it is cool-headed and cutting-edge; Church’s, a high-end men's footwear manufacturer established in the British town of Northampton in 1873; and Car Shoe, inventor of the original driving moccasin with uppers perforated with rubber studs, patented in 1963. Moreover, in 2014, Prada acquires the 80% of Angelo Marchesi srl, the owners of the historic Milanese pastry shop founded in 1824.
Prada’s products are made in thirteen company-owned sites, eleven of which are located in Italy, one in United Kingdom, one in France, and by a network of external contractors who are carefully screened to assure the necessary standard of craftsmanship, quality and reliability. Each stage of the production process is closely and directly monitored: from the procurement and purchase of raw materials (including external suppliers) to the fabrication of prototypes, and planning and coordination of in-house and outsourced production.
The Group’s distribution network extends across 70 countries, counting 622 directly-operated stores (at July 31st 2016), which form the backbone of the group's international expansion strategy, and a selection of department stores and multi-brand retail spaces in the most significant cities and stylish locations.
Innovation is at the core of Prada’s success, with no sector escaping the Group’s avante-garde approach, distribution included. Prada was the first brand to launch a new type of store, known as “Prada Epicentres”, designed by internationally-acclaimed architects such as Rem Koolhaas, and Herzog & de Meuron, both winners of the Pritzker Prize (the Nobel for architecture).
Prada casts its creative eye beyond the boundaries of fashion, to include art, architecture, cinema and culture as key reference to the brand's core values.
The Prada Foundation, founded in 1993 to promote “the most radical of intellectual challenges in art and contemporary culture”, organizes exhibitions and related cultural events which have earned much international acclaim. In December 2011, the Foundation acquired Ca’ Corner della Regina, a prominent 17th century palace on Venice’s Grand Canal, turning it into an exhibition space. On May 9th 2015, its new permanent Milan venue, conceived by architecture firm OMA led by Rem Koolhaas, opened to the public. The compound develops on an overall surface of 19.000 m2/205,000 ft2 and expands the repertoire of spatial typologies in which art can be exhibited and shared with the public. Characterized by an articulated architectural configuration which combines seven existing buildings with three new structures, it is the result of the transformation of a distillery dating back to the 1910’s.
Prada was also four-times sponsor of the Luna Rossa team in the 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2013 America’s Cup campaigns, winning the challengers’ selection series in 2000 and reaching the final in both 2007 and 2013.
On June 24th, 2011, Prada Spa (HKSE ticker 1913) listed 20% of its shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange, where the company was valued at €9.2 bn.
The Prada brand ranked 81st in Interbrand’s top 100 most valuable global brands in 2016.
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