ford models fashion: Miuccia, Miuccia, Miuccia

Photo: Via Ford Models Fashion

by Alison Baenen

In advance of tonight’s Costume Institute Gala and its concurrent exhibition, ”Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations,” we did some digging and discovered that one half of the show’s designer dream team turns 63 on May 10, the day the Met exhibit opens to the public. (If it’s anything like last year’s McQueen tribute, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to see it before it closes on August 19.) The birthday girl, of course, is Miuccia Prada, whose unpredictable, intellectual, idiosyncratic, and yes, sometimes ugly collections keep the critics in business. A Ph.D. in political science and a former mime with a history of political protesting, Prada’s fashion career started when she took over the family’s fine-leather-goods business in 1977. She didn’t design her first womenswear collection until more than 10 years later, in 1988. Of the decision to add apparel to the house’s successful line of luggage and shoes, Prada told the London Evening Standard, “It was the only thing to do. Any businessman knows that if you stand still, you go backwards. So forward was the only way to go.” Described as “appropriate for a Communist youth rally,” the sober, no-nonsense clothes were a fitting first outing for a former leaflet-distributing member of Italy’s Communist party. Three CFDA awards and a burgeoning global brand later, Prada is an undisputed trend creator, and Anna Wintour’s words to The New York Times in 2004 ring as true now as they did then: “I told Miuccia today, You’re the only reason we all come to Milan. She has become the lifeblood of the city.”

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