Why I love Prada ...
“Fashion is about the way we compose ourselves every day,” Miuccia Prada once wrote.
This was on my mind yesterday when contemplating what to write about this week. I’ve always been something of an oddity in professional circles, with a brain that management loves and an energetic creative style that drives them to the brink and back. Contradictions are my happy place, as it is here that originality naturally thrives and interesting trumps boring same-old, same-old. At the beginning of each day, I contemplate what needs to be achieved which in turn frames what I will wear. Not from a functionality point of view, but from a pump yourself up, eye of the tiger, nothing is impossible kinda way. More often than not, this wear-your-energy-of-the-day comprises jeans, t-shirt, chunky Prada boots and oversized Prada sunnies c2015.
My love affair with the Prada vibe has been going on for decades, and yet it has taken until right now to ask myself, why Prada?
The answer begins and ends with contradictions. Prada is high fashion that relentlessly has fun with the way we interact with fashion. Prada is simultaneously posh and playful. Couture and charming. I mean, who would have ever thought that bucket hats with under chin straps would be a thing? Prada c2018. Who would have turned the style of vamp comedian icon Dame Edna into a Baroque sunglasses range? Prada c2011. Who would use the words minimal and men’s summer playsuit in the same sentence? Prada c2023.
The only other brand who comes close to Prada’s long-time sophisticated mirthful styling is Loewe. The difference being that Loewe has a creative director whose remit is to make the Spanish label into the It brand of each successive year, whereas the style of Prada has remained consistently ambivalent to failure or success in the eyes of the fashion elite with its matriarch Miuccia Prada at the creative helm since the mid-seventies.
Miuccia Prada is credited as the inventor of “ugly chic”, giving fashion lovers of every size, shape, and style unwritten permission to embrace their inner eccentricity. In the years that followed Prada’s collection titled “Banal Eccentricity” for Spring/Summer 1996, and the unofficial beginnings of her Ugly Chic era, the now 74-year-old creative director and co-CEO of Prada has continuously created designs that were not rooted in invention, but in the unexplored. By juxtaposing a mix and match of patterns, colours, and fabrics in unusual, not seen before combinations, Prada remains fresh every season. In a non-intimidating way that welcomes rather than alienates.
“Ugly is attractive, ugly is exciting. Maybe because it is newer.”, the designer herself once stated in an interview. Mrs Prada believes that ugly chic is more honest than its more established yet unrealistic counterpart, “beauty”. Hallelujah. Without realising this backstory, I’ve have been subconsciously drawn to Miuccia’s visions for unconventional beauty; continuously giving us new possibilities and personas to leave our comfort zones and seek out excitement rather than following mainstream conventions.
Sometimes I worry that being unconventional has directed me away from the path well-travelled by most of my contemporaries, but then I look at what Miuccia Prada has achieved and continues to achieve well into here seventies, and I’m reminded of the fabulous rollercoaster that has been my life thus far. With many more adventures to come. Wouldn’t change a day of it. Wouldn’t leave home without my Prada sunnies.