343 N Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Monday to Saturday 10-7
The company was started in 1913 by Mario Prada and his brother Martino as a leathergoods shop. Mario Prada did not believe that women should have a role in business, and so he prevented female family members from entering into his company. Ironically, Mario’s son harbored no interest in the business, so it was his daughter Luisa Prada who took the helm of Prada as his successor and ran it for almost twenty years. Her own daughter, Miuccia Prada, joined the company in 1970, eventually taking over for her mother in 1978.
Miuccia began making waterproof backpacks out of Pocone. She met Patrizio Bertelli in 1977, an Italian who had begun his own leathergoods business at the age of 17, and he joined the company soon after.
Prada’s ascent into high-fashion
Miuccia released her first set of backpacks and totes in 1979. They were made out of a tough military spec black nylon that her grandfather had used as coverings for steamer trunks.
The next year, Prada released its definitive black nylon tote. In 1985, Miuccia released the “classic Prada handbag” that became an overnight sensation. Although practical and sturdy, its sleek lines and craftsmanship exuded an offhand aura of luxury that has become the Prada signature. The logo for the label was not as obvious a design element as those on bags from other prominent luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton. It tried to market its lack of prestigious appeal, including the apparel, was its image of “anti-status” or “reverse snobbery.”