The history of Prada fabric and nylon: how textiles earned their place in fashion

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“At the time, I didn’t really like everything I saw. It all looked so old, bourgeois and boring. I just wanted to look for the absolute opposite of what’s already out there, ”Miuccia Prada once said, explaining how she came to elevate nylon, that humble and acclaimed substance, to a material worthy of the much-vaunted fashion rooms. “Suddenly, nylon started to interest me more than couture fabrics. I decided to introduce it on the catwalk, and that upset, even changed, the traditional and conservative idea of ​​luxury. I’m still obsessed with it, ”Ms. Prada said.

Of course, over the course of its long history, Prada has used many other materials for its bags, from iconic patented bowling bags to structured two-tone notebook, ironic instant-rimmed lady numbers to all manner of velvet evening clutch bags, straw summer satchels and roomy tote bags, including the Galleria rendered, like so many other Prada offerings, in the house’s signature Saffiano leather. The above items are all meticulously crafted, beautiful and desirable, but it was the nutty notion of nylon that first gave the house its revolutionary burst of energy. It also marks the arrival of Miuccia Prada in the family business, sending a signal to the world that it is time to rethink the entire luxury project.

The original Prada store was founded by Miuccia’s grandfather, who opened his store in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan in 1913 (which is why every Prada bag features this little metal triangle and its caption ” Milano da 1913 ”). He sold bags, trunks and travel accessories sophisticated enough to have earned the title of “Official Supplier of the Royal Italian House”.

Sixty-five years later, in 1978, his granddaughter Miuccia took him on board, full of new ideas. At first, she didn’t believe that fashion was her destiny: she once explained that although she loved clothes, fashion was “the worst place for a feminist in the 60s”. She literally hid her affection for clothes; instead, she studied mime, got a doctorate. in political science, and eventually joined the Italian Communist Party. A communist mime with a doctorate in science? No wonder his thinking is so wild and so special. Its first creation was the now classic Prada backpack called the Vela, which debuted in 1984. In the unlikely event that you can’t imagine this item, or if it isn’t in your closet, the Vela has a flat top, D-ring closure, drawstring opening, and of course, this devilishly charming triangle. (And think about it, at this point, don’t you Prada backpack practically a word?)


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