>> Just as the focus shifts to Prada's interpretation of the roaring twenties in The Great Gatsby (have received 63 completely UNinteresting emails, with the subject line "How to get the Gatsby look!" - all in the bin now), I found this bitesize history of Prada printed in the promo material for the Prada Journal project (who's got their creative writing thinking caps on?), fairly useful and slightly surprising. Prada's history pre-Miuccia (she inherited the family company in 1978) isn't that well publicised and despite most other luxury brands constantly drawing from their history to promote ideals of heritage, it isn't something that Prada focuses on. You can't even find a concise history on the Prada.com website unless you go on to Prada Group's page.
Started in 1913 by Mario and his brother Martino Prada, the company sold leather goods and imported trunks as was appointed Official Supplier to the Italian Royal Family and so had the right to incorporate the coat of arms and knotted rope insignia of the House of Savoy into its logo, which remains today. It is said that Mario Prada sought out rare and valuable materials and sophisticated manufacturing techniques to instill values of innovation within the company, something which certainly filtered down to Miuccia. I'm 95% sure it's a typo but within this Prada 101 collage, it captions a nylon shopping tote with the year 1925, predating the invention of nylon and also overturning the assumption that it was Miuccia Prada, who was responsible for releasing Prada backpacks and totes in 1979, made out of a tough military spec black nylon Pocone that her grandfather Mario ad used as coverings for steamer trunks. A quick look at my trusty Prada book confirms that it was in fact Miuccia who gave Prada its iconic nylon line, but that Mario was responsible for the introduction of the distinctive cross-hatch grained Saffiano leather.
That Prada can successfully shirk from its now, 100 year old history is testament to the values, which Miuccia has ingrained within the brand - innovation in design, ahead-of-the-curve creative output, product desirability, forward thinking collaborations, rich visuals - things that go far and beyond heritage.