• Founded: 1913
• Founder: Mario Prada
• CEO: Patrizio Bertelli
• HQ: Milan, Italy
• Co. type: Private
• Industry type: Consumer goods
• Product type: Textile
• Originally: "Prada Bros"
• "Prada Phone": The LG KE850
• Pop Culture: The Devil Wears Prada (Film)
The Prada Empire derives from the leather goods store Mario Prada opened in Milan in 1913. In addition to his own products, he also sold steamer trunks and handbags imported from England to a customer base that included Italian nobles. Although Mario Prada barred the women of the family from entering his workplace, control of the business followed a affectionate succession after his death in the mid-1950s. Prada's son Alberto was not interested in the business, so his daughter-in-law ran the store for about 20 years before passing its ownership to her own daughter, Miuccia Prada, who first joined the firm in 1970 before inheriting it eight years later. Miuccia Prada, the founder's granddaughter, was born in 1949. Her career in fashion design grew from an early interest in clothes and textiles. In spite of, or perhaps because of, her prosperous accomplishments, she exposed tendencies, handing out communist brochures on street corners. She received a doctoral degree in political science in 1973. She also studied mime for several years--perhaps good training for the nonverbal language of fashion. In 1977, Prada met Patrizio Bertelli, who had started his own leather goods manufacturing firm when he was 17. Prada readily followed the mesmerizing Bertelli's business advice, which included dropping the firm's English suppliers and revitalizing old-fashioned luggage styles. It was his advice to discontinue importing English goods and to change the existing luggage styles. Sales were about $400,000 a year when Prada inherited the company in 1978. Miuccia had been making black waterproof backpacks since 1970, out of a nylon fabric called "Pocone". She uncover the classic Prada handbag which was simple,...
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