Even if your budget doesn’t stretch to owning a precious piece of Prada (or better still, cramming your closet with it), her aesthetic – smart, sophisticated and a little bit weird – has probably influenced your wardrobe in countless ways.
It’s Miuccia’s birthday today and we’ve created a super-fan guide to her most brilliant moments. Miuccia, you eternally chic, quietly maverick designer, we salute you.
1. She’s a quiet revolutionary
In an interview with Vogue last month, she called herself a ‘punk… in the way of finding a way to change things, to go against the system’. Miuccia’s ‘punk’ isn’t about bondage dresses and bumster trousers – but her uncompromising aesthetic does defy fashion conventions.
Back in the maximalist 1980s, her low-key synthetic nylon collections overturned the industry’s view of what luxury fashion could look like (FYI, she’s revisited nylon for spring and autumn 2018 and it’s ace). Neither, does Miuccia kowtow to commercial trends she doesn’t believe in. I mean, have you ever spotted jeans or athleisure on a Prada catwalk?
2. She brought us midi skirts
Before Miuccia made awkward-length skirts look so compellingly cool, we wore miniskirts (and spent waaaay too long worrying about our knees’ shortcomings). Full credit to Miuccia for making the swishy midi skirt an indispensable part of our wardrobe and teaching us how to get around its dowdy proportions: with clompy footwear and a half-tucked blouse, sweater or sweatshirt to emphasise the waist.
3. She offers a different kind of sexy
In a world where sheer, nothing-left-to-the-imagination outfits get a regular slot on the catwalks, and where ‘side boob’ is a thing, Miuccia Prada’s covered-up take on sexy is refreshing. She’s not judging how you dress, but says ‘sexiness… is in the mind, it’s not in what you wear.’
Her clothes are never obvious, or simply glamorous, or simply pretty. Instead, they’re weirdly beautiful: layered with vintage references, cutting-edge fabrics and a dash of offbeat – odd colour combinations or an unexpected accessory (banana earrings or flame-strapped sandals come to mind).
4. The accessories – oh, the accessories
Miuccia was doing kooky sunglasses long before Alessandro Michele crashed the Gucci party, and we still remember the iconic ‘flame sandals’ that we couldn’t afford to buy circa 2012 (but start saving – she’s re-issuing them this autumn too).
And her signature Galleria bag, reinvented every season, still makes us woozy with desire – especially in this season’s medicinal pink shade.
5. She’s in the movies
Miuccia is the only designer we know that’s been name-checked in a film title (we gather she took the infamous Devil Wears Prada reference in her stride). And she was tapped to provide the now-iconic costumes for Baz Luhrmann’s versions of Romeo and Juliet and The Great Gatsby.
Her fashionable influence extends to the red carpet, too, with a celebrity following that includes style-setters Michelle Williams, Carey Mulligan and Nicole Kidman.’
‘Fashion is instant language.’
– Miuccia Prada
6. She supports the arts
There are lots of reasons to visit the Fondazione Prada, a sprawling campus in Milan with cutting-edge architecture, permanent and changing exhibitions, teaching venues, and a library.
The foundation is dedicated to ‘the ways in which mankind has transformed ideas into specific disciplines and cultural products: literature, cinema, music, philosophy, art and science.’ But if you only want to visit to check out the adorably kitsch cafe designed by Wes Anderson, we’re not judging.
7. She’s a feminist
You won’t find a slogan T-shirt in any of her collections, but the models stalking her runways would be hard to objectify. They’re womanly, and they’re wearing purposeful, intelligent clothing. And her outfits carry a quieter political message, like the way she’s repurposed feminist cartoons for this spring’s key pieces.
8. Her pieces are so defiantly odd that they never go out of fashion
Off-kilter styling, bonkers colour combinations… Miuccia has an unerring instinct on how to add more than a soupçon of the unexpected. Neither is she preoccupied with traditional ‘good taste’.
Case in point: autumn’s spotless white wellies and backstage pass brooch in bright fuchsia. But her pieces are so delightfully off-kilter that they will always look delightfully right – that’s why we’re buying them now and loving them forever.