Salvatore Ferragamo (1898-1960). Famous Italian shoemaker. The 11th, out of 14 children, born in Bonito. A small village about 160 miles from Naples, from which emigration to America was often a necessity. At the age of 9 Salvatore, who left school in the third grade, created his first pair of shoes out of white cardboard for his sister’s first Holy Communion. From a young age he had clear ideas and wanted to become a shoemaker. Although, in southern Italy a shoemaker is one of the humblest professions, his parents, despite their poverty, were not happy with his choice.
At age 11 he was an apprentice in Luigi Festa’s workshop in Bonito, and by the age of 13 he had his own shop where he began to create women’s shoes. His workshop was located at home in a space between the front door and the kitchen, with the shop window facing a church. With five workers, of whom the oldest, was 18.
Immigration to the U.S.
Then, in 1914, at age 16, he immigrated, via the ship Stampalia, to the United States to join his brothers who were already there. Girolamo was a tailor, Secondino a carpenter, and Alfonso ironed clothes in the tailor’s shop of the American Film Company in Santa Barbara. But in Boston, his brother-in-law Joseph Covelli, had already found him a job at the Queen Quality Shoes Company. They produced thousands of shoes a day, soles and heels in half a second, and one minute for sewing. Anyone would have been thankful for such a job, but not the young Salvatore. He had a more noble idea of the shoemaker’s profession. He couldn’t stand those machines. He exclaimed, “They made shoes that were heavy, clumsy, and squat, with a toe shaped like a potato and a leaden heel.” He left the factory, joined his brothers in Santa Barbara, and convinced them to combine their small savings and invest in a shoe repair shop. As told in his autobiography, Il calzolaio dei sogni (The Shoemaker of Dreams), Salvatore immediately understood that California, with its fast-growing film industry, would be the Promise Land.
It all started when the property manager at the American Film Company complained about the boots worn in the western movies. He believed, if they were easy to wear, the styling was no good, if the style was attractive, they hurt the feet of the actors. Ferragamo offered his services and produced boots for the manager. This was a success and the director Cecil B. De Mille said, “We would have won the West sooner if we had had your boots.” It was the start of Ferragamo’s career.
Shoemaker of the Stars
At this time in Hollywood 1923, the future of the “Made in Italy” movement was beginning. The biggest stars visited his boutique, including Mary Pickford. He created the original Ferragamo model for her in brown kidskin, “with two ears standing up in front.” Suddenly, stars of cinema in California, would only feel like stars if they were wearing shoes made by the “Italian shoemaker.” So, he soon became known as the “shoemaker to the stars.” He created pale lavender sandals for Jean Harlow, cork-shaped heels for Gloria Swanson, and slippers in multicolored satin for Lillian Gish. Also, loafers for both Douglas Fairbanks and Rudolf Valentino.
During the time of WWII there was a scarcity of materials, which fed his talents for new inventions. He used the strangest materials, including crystal, embroidery, feathers, kangaroo, antelope, sea leopard, and fish skins. This set him apart from other designers. Also, while in California he studied the anatomy of the foot and patented a system of putting thin layers of steel in the sole of the shoe in order to provide arch support. His success was due to the comfort of his shoes.
Return to Italy
Later, he returned to Florence, Italy in search of good artisans and opened his first workshop in 1927 with 60 workers. Then, in 1929, during the Great Depression, he faced bankruptcy. Ferragamo didn’t despair, and soon made a comeback. By 1938 he was able to acquire the Palazzo Spini Feroni on via Tornabuoni, which is today still the headquarters of the company. In that same year, he acquired the Michelangelo style villa Il Palagio in Fiesole.
The Wedge Shoe
Salvatore Ferragamos popularity continued. Maria José walked to the altar wearing his shoes. Mussolini, who suffered from corns and chilblains, wore his boots. The Maharani of Cooch Behar came and ordered 100 pair. From New York, Paris, and London came the ladies who wear Chanel and Schiaparelli. For evening sandals, he invented an upper in transparent paper. At this time, using steel for arch support was poor quality. So, he created the most iconic shoe of the century. It was an orthopedic model of a platform shoe, and people called it the wedge. It was made with a cork heel, that filled in the entire space formed by the arch of the foot. The model was a success, it sold everywhere. It marked a new era and immediately became a symbol of style at this time.
Salvatore Ferragamo’s Death
Then, in 1940 he married Wanda Miletti, a 18-year-old girl from his hometown who was the daughter of the local doctor and mayor. She would be the mother of his six children: Fiamma (died in 1998), Ferruccio, Giovanna, Fulvia, Leonardo, and Massimo. All worked in important positions within the company after the premature death of their father in 1960. After his death, Wanda, his wife, took over the company.
Salvatore left behind a company which was the symbol of the creativity and productivity in Italy. With 20,000 models and 350 patents. An infinite number of models marked different epochs, times, and fashions. Through the 50s Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland were considered the “It Girls” of Ferragamo. These women represented the beginning of the brands icon, which are still used today. The brand continues to use the “It Girl” in their brand language to communicate with the customer, and build brand image.
Ferragamo was famous for the creation of the wedge heel, French toe, platform heel, stage toe, the Roman sandal, the shell shaped sole, invisible nylon model, and the sculpted heel, shaped like the prow of a battleship. Also, you can’t forget the gloved arch shoe created for Maharani of Cooch Behar in 1938. Salvatore left a business that his heirs have carried forward, always remaining faithful to his professional standards and not just defending the status quo.
Brand Expansion From 1970s to early 2000s
During the 1970s, thanks to the initiative and preparation of Wanda, president of the company, the brand expanded and started offering total look collections. With fashion collections, men’s lines, perfumes, and eyeglasses, all of which gradually conquered the market. In 1978 his daughter, Fiamma, designed the Vara ballet shoe which became a best seller. Today, the Vara style ballet shoe is considered a Ferragamo iconic element.
In July 1996, Ferragamo acquired Emanuel Ungaro, a luxury menswear line. Two years later the company turnover reached 850 billion liras, most of which came from Europe, U.S., the Far East, Africa, and Oceania. The company had 40 privately owned boutiques, plus several exclusive points-of-sale. Also, several of Salvatore’s grandchildren worked in the company. Following the birth of the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, in Palazzo Spini Feroni, the company has committed itself to art exhibits and cultural activities, not just as a sponsor or patron. In 1999 the French designer Marc Audibet creates the new Autumn-Winter 2000-2001 collection. During this time, they appointed a new creative director of the menswear line, Massimiliano Giornetti.
In 2001 the company introduced its world-wide expansion plans, created by architect Michael Gabellini, to renovate, or open, a total of 100 boutiques. The renovations were to gain a more sophisticated architectural style. A new store opens in Korea, in a prestigious commercial area of Seoul. The store occupies a four-storey building with a garden-terrace on the roof. And by 2003 new stores will open in New York, Tokyo, and London. They ended 2001 with €641 million in consolidated revenues, 46% coming from the Far East.
In May 2001 Leonardo Ferragamo becomes president of Altagamma, an association founded in 1992 with 43 prestigious Italian companies as members.
The year of 2002 was full of good news and satisfaction. The company was acknowledged as the best brand of the year in China, where the label sells the most product. Then, beginning in June, Ferragamo starts a joint venture with Ermenegildo Zegna for the launch of the new brand Zefer, which ended later in 2013.
Later in October Wanda Ferragamo, the president of the company, is named “Woman Entrepreneur of the Year” by the “Committee of 200,” an organization that each year recognizes the top women managers and entrepreneurs all over the world. The ceremony took place in New York. The citation: “For success in the transformation of a shoe factory into an international luxury concern, in which the family maintains total control of its own flourishing business…”
New Creative Director
At this time, Graeme Black became the new creative director of womenswear. The collection for Winter 2003-2004 experiments with shapes, volumes, and combinations. It interprets with common sense colors and references inspired by the Russia of St. Petersburg. Recalling Constructivist art and a certain nostalgia for decadent opulence and taste reinterpreted in a very modern way. There were precious fabrics and ornaments, brocades, inlays with strong visual impact, and irreverent combinations such as a crocodile jacket with jeans. The accessories included cartoon-like floral and mother-of-pearl-covered platform shoes, that even would have pleased Salvatore, the founder. As well as incredible bags made of snake-skin decorated with small silver coins.
World-Wide Expansion Continued
Since 2002 the worldwide expansion plan is well under way. The distribution network had 16 new points-of-sale, including the important new boutiques in Osaka, Hong Kong (Pacific Place), Tokyo (Ginza Chou Dori), Amsterdam, and the historic center of Vienna, near the Hofburg castle. Also, stores in Shanghai Center (China), Paris (Avenue Montaigne), and Milan (via Montenapoleone) are re-opened after renovations.
In May of 2003 Ferragamo’s releases its very latest sunglasses, called the Maharani. These are special because they are inspired by the celebrated jeweled-sandal created in far off 1938 for the Maharani of Cooch Behar.
The Salvatore Ferragamo group ends the year with a consolidated turnover of €549 million, a 5% increase compared to 2003. Also, sales in Japan continue to increase. With 20% of their turnover there, a new flagship is opened in the heart of one of Tokyo’s most fashionable neighborhoods.
In 2004 Wanda Ferragamo is named Knight of the Big Cross by the president of Italy. In May of 2005, as part of the Fashion Project of the Province of Florence, with attendance by a large international public, Palazzo Strozzi hosts the fashion show in a memorable evening organized by Beppe Modenese. Then, starting in June 2005, Ferragamo Finanziaria enters a long-term agreement with the Porsche Design group to foresee the production and distribution of shoes, bags, and leather accessories.
In 2006 new shops in Via Condotti were opened in Rome and Frankfurt. In November of the same year, Michele Norsa became Ferragamo’s new CEO. His managerial mind led the company to expand more and more, exploring new markets such as India, Latin America and Thailand. A year later, after a new CEO, Cristina Ortiz, was appointed as creative director for the womenswear line from 2007 and stayed till 2010.
In 2008 Salvatore Ferragamo company celebrates their 80th anniversary with an exhibition in Shanghai. Later, in January of 2010 Massimiliano Giornetti, current chief creative director of menswear, becomes creative director for the womenswear line. So, at this time, Giornetti was holding a lot of creative power in Ferragamo being the creative director for both women’s and menswear lines.
They officially become a part of Milan stock exchange in 2011. At this time, the growth in Europe is positively driven by wealthy Asian travelers shopping in Europe and the group’s wide retail presence in China. Profits rose around 70% to €103.3 millions.
Through 2013 Ferragamo focused on accessories, rather than footwear. In early October, they began to target a younger generation by using an “innovative” digital campaign and revamping physical stores. Also, continuing to renovate older stores in existing markets in Europe and the U.S. to boost profitability in its retail division.
Ferragamo reported a 26% rise in gross operating profits (EBITDA) to €131 million in the first half of 2013. The revenues are outside the Italian market, which has struggled to emerge from recession, and sells a higher-margin of leather goods, apart from shoes. China is still a growing market for Ferragamo, but going through a tough time.
Their world-wide expansion plan are a success. As of 31 December 2014, the Salvatore Ferragamo Group has posted total revenues of €1.332 million and a 5.9% increase at current exchange rates. At this time, political tensions in Russia and Ukraine reduced the number of shoppers traveling from the region to Europe lead to decreasing number of sales in some cities through Europe. In terms of the Asia Pacific region, China is the best performer with 37.2% of sales.
Salvatore Ferragamo open new shops in less well-known cities Yantai in China, Surabaya in Indonesia, and Cartagena in Colombia. They continue to renovate older stores in Europe and U.S. including Miami and Rome. Also, they reopened in San Francisco, on the west coast of America which is a popular destination for holidaying Chinese shoppers.
Salvatore Ferragamo continues to meet challenges due to a weaker euro, lower oil prices, and economic weakness in China. Also, US. Economic growth in China has slowed more than expected, and the United States, as a strong dollar hits tourist flows, have weighed on several luxury goods companies in recent months. Hong Kong deteriorated further in the third quarter. By contrast, Japan has a strong performance thanks to Chinese tourists.
Asia Pacific, the biggest market, experienced a 5% decline in sales in the first nine months of 2015. Revenues were up 1.3% from a year earlier, thanks to a 2.1% increase in the fourth quarter.
In 2016 revenues total €1.438 billion. There are increasing number of travelers shopping in places like airports, leading to expanding stores in main locations such as Dubai, Helsinki and Quito. New shops were planned also in cities like Copenhagen, Berlin, and New York.
The situation in china is not yet get recovered because of the falling oil prices and global security threats affecting tourist spending. But sales grow particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States, and push for e-commerce in Asia.
Currently, Salvatore Ferragamo is going through major changes. In August 2016 Eraldo Poletto was appointed as CEO. Who is credited for doubling the sales at the accessibly-priced handbag maker, Furla, in the last five years. Also, 3 new creative directors have been hired after the departure of Massimiliano Giornetti. This includes Guillaume Meilland for menswear, along with Paul Andrew for Women shoes, and Fulvio Rigoni for Woman’s-Ready-to-Wear. The brand now focuses on creating unique and exciting campaigns to bring back its positioning of industry leader it once had in the WWII era. Now, the Ferragamo “It Girl” is Lily Aldridge, and appears in their 2017 campaign.
Ferragamo’s designs will live forever. The classic ballet flat is always in style and most women’s go to shoe. The brand is known as the exemplary ideal shoe for women. It strives to be excellent in terms of quality, by keeping the production, and standard of craftsmanship, exceptional.
Founded by Dante Trussardi in 1911 in Bergamo, Italy. The company started as a luxury gloves business. Today, Trussardi is an international brand that produces “Made in Italy” luxury leather goods, men’s and womenswear collections.
Founded by Dante Trussardi in 1911 in Bergamo, Italy. The company started as a high quality gloves business targeting elegant men and women. It grew and became an official provider for the royal family. The brand stood for discreet sophistication, experimentation and innovation. Iconic elements such as high quality raw materials and revolutionary leatherworking techniques were born. These iconic elements still exist in the brand DNA today.
Sixty years later, Dante’s grandson, Nicola Trussardi, a young manager with a degree in economics from Catholic University of Milan, took over the family business. In school, Nicola studied leatherworking processes, the market, and new trends that were reinforcing Italian style around the world. This education helped Nicola understand the destiny of gloves by this point was obsolete, and without a decisive change in direction, the company was destined to decline and fall. Nicola’s vision is to create a lifestyle brand, able to embrace with every style of life all aspects of life, always focusing on excellence.
Trussardi became an industrial group and entered the clothing and luxury accessories department. They designed and produced suitcases, bags, home, office and leather jackets in constantly changing styles. The brand stood true to Italian tradition of fine craftsmanship that has been passed down through generations.
In 1973 Nicola became the first designer to adopt a logo to identify all products. He used the greyhound to symbolize modernity, agility, and energy. the Greyhound revolutionizes the international fashion system leaving an indelible imprint in the imagination of those years with its refinement and elegance, with the cautious care of details, with incomparable quality materials. From this time on the greyhound became an international symbol, representing the brand that is still used today. In 1976 the brand opened its first flagship store in Milan and expanded into the European and American markets.
The First Fashion Show
The next step was natural, with the presentation of the first collection of prêt-à-porter in the late 70s and early 80s. With the close collaboration of his wife Maria Luisa, Nicola offered a prêt-à-porter with contemporary and dynamic lines. He favored the use of leather, reinvented by new technologies of processing and other modern and precious materials, such as neoprene and microfibers. Along with being a designer, Nicola was an expert in marketing. He immediately focused on the world of media with spectacular operations in Milan. He brought his runway presentations into exciting new spaces including: Teatro alla Scala, the Piazza del Duomo, the Pinacoteca di Brera, the Stazione Centrale, the Borsa, the racetrack, and opened them to the general public. He surrounded himself with intellectuals and artists, who gave their contributions to the griffe: from the painter Renato Guttuso from whose drawings he derived a sunflower print, to directors and costume designers invited to collaborate on the staging of the runway presentations. But Nicola does not stop at fashion: he is among the first to understand the unstoppable value of the brand: bicycles, tile, perfume, cars, airplanes, helicopters, house linens.
Trussardi and the Theater
The Trussardi lifestyle includes art, entertainment, cultured events and design. At this time, the brand had officially become a vital brand in the field of excellent products to be “Made in Italy.” Including the diverse range of fashion, art, cuisine and design. In the years Trussardi is able to blend in harmony with fashion at the theater. He collaborates with the Teatro Piccolo in Milan and with his director Giorgio Strehler, dressing Macbeth on stage at Verona Arena and setting up a parade at Castello Sforzesco with the direction of Dario Argento. Nicola interprets himself in Robert Altman’s Prêt-à-porter movie. This leads to the opening of Palatrussardi in 1986. A new venue for concerts and large scale entertainment events, that housed Frank Sinatra’s last concert in Italy.
Known for their elegance and quality, Trussardi rapidly grew internationally through the 90s, that expanded beyond fashion. The Group launches the Jeans, Home, Baby, Junior, Eyewear and Perfumes lines, becoming synonymous with elegance and absolute quality. In the 1990s, the company continued its international expansion path, focusing on new emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East. New boutiques are opened in Hong Kong (1992), Moscow (1993), Taiwan and Taipei (1994). In those years it is also the image to spread the style around the world thanks to the collaboration with the most interesting voices of international photography such as Richard Avedon, Mario Testino, Michel Comte, and Steven Klein.
In 1996, Palazzo Marino Alla Scala opened, a newly renovated hotel, that became the first flagship building in the fashion world that was built with a showroom, boutique, exhibition space, café, bookshop and restaurant all in one. On average, in recent years, sales amount to Lire 750 billion a year. In 1998, he founded a school for future fashion professionals, photographers and communicators. Sadly, on an April night in 1999 Nicola Trussardi died suddenly at the age of 57, in a car crash. The tradition of the Trussardi family name and the spirit of Nicola continues to be upheld.
After the death of their father, children Beatrice and Francesco took over the management of the family business. The “touch” of these two young people became immediately apparent. They created a younger fashion. The runway presentation for Winter 2003 ranged from the vaguely British style, with minor references to India in the form of damasked fabrics, and sporty suits. British style: knit pullovers with leather inserts, velvet suits, regimental stripes printed on the suede blazers. During this runway presentation, the maison announced a licensing agreement with Vestimenta, for formalwear and men’s sportswear, for Spring-Summer 2004.
The following year Francesco died at the age of 29 in a car crash, by a tragic fate, just as his father had. In March of 2003, 32-year-old Beatrice, becomes sole president, after father and her brother’s sudden deaths. Determined to carry on the work that her brother had begun, for Winter 2004, she presented one of the finest runway presentations in the history of the brand. It represented a way of being, more than just a fashion. The desire to please, rather than to astonish. A wardrobe intentionally for daytime wear, outside of any trends, and therefore, easy to wear. The line included interchangeable items in bright and complementary colors.
In 2006 Eric Wright, an American designer, who worked closely alongside Karl Lagerfeld, while designing for Fendi womenswear, was named head designer by Beatrice, current CEO and President at the time. Beatrice hired Wright with the intention of strengthening the menswear by reversing the current marketed route by bringing back forgotten colors, patterns and rediscover the rounded lines of inside pocket objects. Wright was head designer for 2 years.
Then, in 2008 the Trussardi high end brand was re-named Trussardi dal 1911. During this name change, Beatrice Trussardi, current CEO and President appointed Milan Vukmirovic, previous creative director at Jil Sander, and briefly Design Director at Gucci working alongside Tom Ford, to creative director. Beatrice hired Vukmirovic for his contemporary vision for tradition of Trussardi style.
Foundation Nicola Trussardi
Beatrice also strengthened Trussardi’s commitment to contemporary culture through the launch of the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi; a nomadic museum built to bring art into people’s lives. The foundation restores neglected houses in Milan and gives them to the city to be used as space for exhibitions and events. The company is also part of the world of high-class cuisine with Trussardi Alla Scala Restaurant, one of the best outposts of quality gastronomy in Italy that has recently obtained the prestigious recognition of the two Michelin stars.
Palazzo Trussardi Alla Scala
In 2009 Trussardi flagship building, Palazzo Trussardi Alla Scala underwent structural renovations and has become a heart of Italian culture. Sticking true to brand values of tradition, the building now houses the first concept store. Inside you can find an exposed layout filled with accessories and clothing for men and women, articles for the home, an area devoted to winning voices of image based journalism, and Café Trussardi, home of the first vertical garden installation in Italy, designed by Patrick Blanc.
Engaged in innovation, sustainability and environmental engagement, Trussardi is the story and the future of Made in Italy excellence in fashion, design, art and cuisine. The brand expresses a new lifestyle, based on excellence: for almost a hundred years the brand is an expression of the solidity and creativity of a home, commitment, and family values.
In fashion, the company has developed, in a century of experience, a unique ability to look for new ways and techniques for treating hides and fabrics. The roots of the brand include the Italian industrial history and its ability to work on the skin is unmatched throughout the world. The gloves laboratory opened by Dante Trussardi in 1911 is a historic example of the dedication and ambitions of the company. The creativity of the family, which has crossed, reinvented and renewed, the last century of our history, expresses an imaginary made of measured elegance, attention to detail, sobriety and charm.
In fashion, design, art and cuisine, each time the brand continually combines the culture of its history with the emotion, lightness, irony, and visions of contemporary. Thanks to the strength of the tradition that has built over time, the brand is able to offer fascinating surprises, rapid innovations, and small daily revolutions.
Trussardi in the world
Trussardi is an industrial group that produces and distributes worldwide. Through a differentiation between flagship stores, boutiques, franchise stores, corners, licenses and large retailers, their products are present in every significant market for apparel, accessories, perfumes, furnishing, and home accessories.
The Group’s exclusive distribution network comprises around 440 outlets around the world: 7 Trussardi boutiques, over 300 Tru Trussardi boutiques and in department stores, 17 Trussardi Home stores, and more than 110 retail outlets and stores. Including, the first TJ (TrussardiJeans) shop opened at Moscow Gum in 23 countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
The Group is also present in the most important multibrands in the world including Barneys, New York; Jeffrey’s, New York; The Webster, Miami; Ron Hermann, Los Angeles; Harrods, London; Joseph, London; Aizel, Moscow; Colette, Paris; Printemps, Paris; Mientus, Berlin; Quartier 206, Berlin; Abseits, Stuttgart; Lakis Gavalas, Athens; Galy, Ibiza; The Outpost, Barcelona; Chapeau, Valencia; White Gallery, Rome; Boon the shop, Seoul; United Arrows, Tokyo; Restir, Tokyo; Designworks, Tokyo; Isetan, Tokyo; Estnation, Tokyo; Eight Million, Tokyo; Joyce, Hong Kong.
The Recent Year’s
Through the renovations Trussardi exposes themes of innovation and sustainability. Then, in 2011 Trussardi 1911 line is officially changed to Trussardi. Umit Benan Sahin, Turkish designer, is appointed as head designer of now Trussardi line. He previously worked for Marc Jacobs, Cacharel, and under Sophie Theallet. Sahin debuted his first line at Milan Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2012 at Palazzo Trussardi alla Scala.
February of 2013, Gaia Trussardi, granddaughter of founder Dante, is appointed as creative director of Trussardi mainline collections and advertising campaigns. She has been a part of the company since age 23, and previously designed for Tru Trussardi and Trussardi Jeans. The brand expresses its need for continuous evolution and to strengthen brand identity. In March 2016, Beatrice, former CEO and President, gave Tomaso Trussardi, current CEO, her 25% stake in the company. The company announced a 5-year plan to reposition the brand in accessible luxury. Including a 90% overhaul in line management and restructuring of the multi and mono-brand sales channel, closing down less profitable stores. Along with major changes, the line Tru Trussardi is being discontinued, the last collection was Spring/Summer 2016. Trussardi and Trussardi Jeans will remain. Gaia plans to position the main Trussardi line around “Elegantly Cool” and the Trussardi Jeans will remain a streetwear look.
Today, Trussardi has introduced a contemporary new accessory called the Lovy bag, representing true Italian craftsmanship, made of the finest materials. The brand ambassador, Michelle Hunziker, represents the ironic and elegant elements of the brand. She is confident, complimented with a bubbly personality. Michelle is the ambassador for the new bag, appearing in all campaigns since 2016.
The origins of Prada begin in 1913 when Mario Prada, Milanese luxury craftsman, opened a shop at Galleria Vittorio II in Milan.
Prada is innovative in the field of travel goods, accessories, and luxury goods. The branded uses refined materials, high quality craftsmanship and state of the art design for its products. The brand has quickly become a point of reference for leather accessories and items precious from all over the world.
Thanks to the quality of its creations, Prada meets the demand of the most demanding, experienced clients of the international market, and of high society. In 1919 Mario became an official supplier of the Real Casa d’Italia, obtaining the right to include the coat of arms and the Sabaudi knots in his own brand. (Source: “Prada”, edition 2009, Prada Arte project).
On the other hand, Mario Prada ideas made it clear, his goal was to:
“Collapse the shortage of objects that participated in the adventure of stylism, but with detachment; They were fashionable, and unable to go fashionable in the course of a season.”
Miuccia: The Rebellious and Ingenious
Mario’s granddaughter, Miuccia Prada, is an ex-jury of the good bourgeoisie, a sixty-year-old passionate about theater and mime, enrolled at the Small Theater School and the Udi (Union of Italian Women) of the Communist Party.
In 1978 Miucca became part of the family business. Together with her partner and husband, Patrizio Bertelli, they transformed the brand into a world-class luxury goods Made in Italy business. After Miucca took over, the brand begins to compete with Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès, Gucci.
The company becomes highly industrial, and at the end of 1997 Prada can rely on:
8 establishments with 1184 direct employees;
119 single-store shops, of which 94 are directly controlled;
A total turnover of 1,147,202 billion lire.
The stages of this ascent to the top of international fashion are marked by Miuccia’s creative intuitions and Patrizio Bertelli’s clever business strategies and communication.
The Eighties: Nylon and American Success
In the early 1980s, Nylon handbags arrived in a patented material, Pocono, originally used for military parachutes. Bags are identified by the iconic logo: an inverted metal triangle inspired by the closure of Mario Prada’s trunks, which soon become objects of worship. In 1979 the first shoe collection was launched.
In 1983 he opened the first Green Store in Milan, designed by architect Roberto Baciocchi. It is characterized by a particular shade of light green that will soon be recognized worldwide as Green Prada. From this moment on, Prada opens a network of Green Stores all over the world, the color remaining so unique. (Source: “Prada“, edition 2009, Prada Arte project).
In 1988 the big jump in women’s clothing took place. The decade of the most spectacular hedonism and consumerism of the century. Opposed to “minimalism”, Prada’s fashion is actually the conceptual elaboration and aesthetic disorder of our time, but without any abstraction.
The return to Milan
Prada is Miucca, a bourgeois and schismatic girl who has become a character, with her stage in New York. She turns naked legs even at 10 degrees below zero, wears woolen socks with sandals, and wears a second-long chiffon skirt over rough tweed, which invented her wind-jacketed jackets.
Only after becoming a “case” in the United States and the Anglo-Saxon press, the Prada-Bertelli reported collections on the Milanese catwalks. The Italian journalists who, before the American trip, left empty whole files of the fashion shows in Melzi d’Eril , are left outside the door of the new Via Maffei.
There is a scandal in print, with accusations of censorship. But, the name Prada becomes popular far beyond the fashion world. Also, because the couple follows the common passion for contemporary art, and become collectors to patrons.
The Nineties: The Foundation and the Big Acquisitions
1993: Prada Foundation was founded, followed by the first exhibitions: Eliseo Mattiacci and Nino Franchina. In the same year the Men’s line and Miu Miu, the independent brand created specifically for Miuccia, were created.
1995: The Prada Foundation, a Milan art space, hosts artists such as Anish Kapoor, Michael Heizer, Louise Bourgeois, Dan Flavin, Laurie Anderson, Sam Taylor Wood, Mariko Mori.
1997: Patricia Bertelli, a sailor expert, decides to sponsor and take part in the 2000 America’s Cup in New Zealand.
The choice is to support the new line Prada Sport, a research laboratory for new materials, forms, and behaviors.
June 1998: Prada becomes an important shareholder of Gucci, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. However, in January 1999, with 34.4% of Gucci by the French group, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy), Prada surrenders its shares to Bernard Arnault. In six months the brand achieved a surplus of 192 billion Lire to invest in the increasingly international brand development.
In the following years:
The purchase of the majority of Helmut Lang;
Participation in De Rigo (glasses);
A minority stake in Church’s, English shoes;
Then the big hit, the purchase of Jil Sander (75 percent of ordinary shares and 15 of those listed on the Stock Exchange);
Finally the winning public offering of the Church’s majority and the alliance with Bernard Arnault and his Lunch for the holding of the Fendi brand. It is the end of August 1999.
The Epicenter Project.
In 1999, the brand inaugurated a unique project in collaboration with AMO, the think-tank of Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and the architect Rem Koolhaas. Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli entrust AMO with the task of analyzing world shopping trends, conceptualizing new products and applying their findings to new types of stores. Thus, the project of three Epicenter projects, designed outside the type of Green Store, is designed to become a true experimental laboratory.
Strong with an identity that transcends the simple brand, the company continues to affirm its originality in new and unexpected ways. He is among the first to collaborate with visionary architects such as Rem Koolhaas and Herzog & de Meuron, winners of the prestigious Pritzker Prize. The Epicenter of New York, Tokyo and Los Angeles, so different from the classic concept of the store, are the result of A careful analysis of the dynamics of the market in contemporary society and of revolutionary architectural innovation. In these boutiques are exposed luxury goods that are the result of extraordinary technology and design, alongside a multitude of exclusive activities and events. (Source: “Prada”, edition 2009, Prada Arte project)
From 2000 to 2005
A New Venue for Collections
At the beginning of the year, the company is recognized by Interbrand among the 100 most important brands in the world. Starting in 2000, Prada presents its collections in Fogazzaro Street, Milan, in a former industrial establishment. The building, renovated for this purpose, is constantly being reconfigured, giving rise to new architectural environments. In order to enhance the concept of collections, in fact, unique movies, videos and sound settings are projected. (Source: “Prada“, 2009 edition, Prada Arte project)
A joint venture with LVMH, called Lvp Holding Bv, is formed in July for the acquisition of 51% of Fendi’s ordinary shares. In October, the acquisition of 100% of Azzedine Alaia’s shares will take place. The Eyewear and Beauty collections debut.
The 2000 Budget
Consolidated sales grew 56.6% compared to 1999. Gross margin increased by 49.8%. Net income was down 184 billion lire (-42.7%). However, the 1999 figure is influenced by the gain on the sale of Gucci shares to the LVMH, net of which the profits would be 134 billion.
The debt remains high, but it is not due to financial mismanagement, but from the many acquisitions carried out in 1999 and 2000: Church’s, Helmut Lang, Jil Sander, Fendi (joint venture with LVMH) and Azzedine Alaia. Significant ratio of net debt to net equity improved in 2000, thanks to Prada Holding’s capital increase of €260 million.
The budget of the Jil Sander House, which accounts for 10% of total turnover, showed a turnover of €134.8 million. The markets with the largest competitive presence is Germany and American. In Italy, the brand is present in Milan, with a showroom in Piazza Castello.
Acquisitions of 2001.
February: Acquisition of 70% Santacroce.
April: Acquisition of 51% of the company Car Shoe, a brand created and patented in 1962 by the Lombard artisan Gianni Mostile, shoe manufacturer for motorcycle enthusiasts. The value of the operation was not known.
July: Acquisition of 70% of Genny, a Marche company led by Donatella Girombelli. Rumors add up to $100 billion to $120 billion in sales, a figure that must be taken out of the high debt.
November: Agreement with LVMH for the sale of 50% of the Prada Group’s holding in Lvp Holding BV (holding Fendi’s shares owned by LVMH and Prada) for a value of €295 million. Prada and LVMH had purchased 51% of Fendi in 1999, paying $425 million. The figure serves to lower the indebtedness of the Italian Group.
The Epicenter of New York
After three years of research, Prada opens the first Epicenter in New York, at Broadway’s Guggenheim Museum SoHo. Rem Koolhaas and OMA create a scenic spectacular design of a wooden wave linking the ground floor to the bottom. With suspended and motorized hanger cages that move along a network of ceiling mounted rails, and a real stage that Gets out of the wave to host special events. The project has an immediate success and remains one of the most prominent contemporary Prada stores worldwide.
One of the most important features of the New York Center is the northern wall that extends for a whole block, reaching the length of sixty meters. From the earliest designs, OMA conceived the wall as a kind of canvas on which to apply temporary wallpaper. Prada and New York Design Studio 2 × 4 have created different wallpaper to produce ever-newer content. Almost at the same time as the opening of the New York Center, Prada started designing the second Epicenter, located in Tokyo, with the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. (Source: “Prada”, 2009 edition, Prada Arte project)
The long-awaited listing on the Milan Stock Exchange is postponed due to the unfavorable time. The multiple acquisitions made in recent years have exacerbated the debtor situation of the Group, which, in order to face it, is considering issuing. It paves the €700 million bond in favor of Prada. The demand from investors was five times higher than the availability. The €700 million will be used: 300 for capital increase and 400 for repayment of debts.
Financial situation in 2002
March: Debut in Moscow, in the central Tretyakov Passage, the first single-member in Russia. Group Partner is Mercury Distribution.
June: A joint venture was established with the Puig group for the creation and distribution of perfumes and cosmetics marked by the Prada brand. With the purchase of the remaining 25% of Jil Sander, Prada has total control of the German brand.
August:. The remaining 24.29% of Genny Spa is found. The Genny and Byblos brands, to which Ozium is added, are present in the high-end prêt-à-porter and in other product lines including leather goods, glasses, and perfumes through contracts License.
September: Fabio Zambernardi is the design director of the Prada and Miu Miu brands for clothing, footwear, and accessories lines. The limited edition GTS Chrono-Automatic IWC for Prada watch is launched.
Prada and Miu Miu’s direct sales outlets total 160. Group revenues amounted to €1.57 billion. The business volume has maintained a balanced geographical distribution: 26% Italy, 25% rest of Europe, 23% North America and 26% Japan and Asia-Pacific area. Historical brands Prada and Miu Miu contributed 83% of total revenues. Consolidated net income is €27 million.
Prada points to Japan: The Epicenter of Tokyo
March: An agreement was reached for the distribution of Prada glasses with the company Avante-Garde Optics (Luxottica Group) in the USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Bertelli announces Group plans for the year. Investments will fall from €130 million in 2002 to €100 million, and will be channeled mainly in the relaunch of younger brands.
Debut a new flagship store in the Ginza district of Tokyo. The third in the Land of the Levant. For the occasion, Prada has produced a Limited Edition Series (2000 copies) exclusively for the Japanese market.
The new Epicenter Prada debuted in Tokyo, designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron. The six-story building, located in the Aoyama district, is one of the city’s most recognizable architectural works. The green glass façade protrudes from a diagonal grid that forms the structure, while it houses commercial areas, lounges and spaces for events. (Source: “Prada”, edition 2009, Prada Arte project).
July: A ten-year license agreement with Luxottica Group, a world leader in the optical industry, for the production and distribution of sunglasses and watches with the brands Prada and Miu Miu, begins. The deal contemplates the acquisition by Luxottica of the 100% production and distribution companies of the Prada Group, for a total value of €26.5 million.
The Epicenter of Los Angeles
In 2004, it opens the flagship store of Hong Kong. Miuccia receives New York’s International Award from Cfda.
After the success of the New York Center, OMA plans a new space on the historic Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. In some respects, the new project is the reverse of New York: a wave rises from the road level, rises to the second floor and goes down again. The facade is made up of a single aluminum plate. Many of the inner walls are made up of a special resin sponge that gives an unusual ‘porous’ appearance to the spaces. (Source: “Prada”, 2009 edition, Prada Arte project)
In the same year, the brand expanded its activities by sponsoring Luna Rossa, a sailboat participating in the America’s Cup, and the consequent introduction of the ad hoc technical clothing line the following year.
In April, an agreement was reached with Aedes. This will give rise to Real Estate International, which acquires Prada Group real estate assets for an estimated value of about €100 million and with a capital gain of €30 million of Prada.
Meanwhile, Helmut Lang’s acquisition is completed. The brand headquarters in New York are moved to Milan, while opting for the suspension of Genny’s clothing line, acquired three years earlier.
Departures and the Launch of the First Perfume
In 2005, Simonetta Ciampi was appointed design director for bags and accessories. In the following period, the Prada Group became lighter. With the sale of Helmut Lang, Jil Sander (2006) and Azzedine Alaïa, which returned to 100% in the hands of the Franco-Tunisian designer, while investors entered Banca Intesa, a 5% stake. This involves the incorporation of the Lamos shoe factory and in conjunction with the announcement of the start of the auction.
Also in 2005, for launching the first female fragrance, Miuccia Prada invites filmmaker Ridley Scott, and her daughter Jordan, to collaborate on the production of a short film. To represent the complexity of the feminine essence, Jordan chooses an ancient 1st-century poem entitled “Thunder Perfect Mind”, which illustrates the countless facets of the female psyche. “Thunder Perfect Mind” is shot by father and daughter in Berlin, and has Daria Werbowy, protagonist of the different female roles of wife, virgin, mother, daughter, and lover. (Source: “Prada”, 2009 edition, Prada Arte project)
From 2005 to 2010
In March 2007, Prada launched Prada Phone by LG, the first fully mobile touch screen phone. More than a million pieces sold in 18 months of presence on the market. The process of asset optimization gives its fruit: Prada S.p.A. Closes 2007 with record profit of €127 million, up 65.8% over the previous year.
At the beginning of 2008, during the New York Fashion Week, Trembled Blossoms is presented. In line with Prada’s creative process, Tremclothing, bags, and packaging. The Trembled Blossoms movie is presentedbled Blossoms is born out of contradictory ideas. The interweaving of Miuccia Prada’s many inspirations, ranging from Art Nouveau to Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings, are perfectly restored by surreal designs by artist James Jean, which stimulate the creation of wallpaper, animated shorts, printed fabrics, at the New York Center in the fall of 2007, accompanied by a live performance by the Coco Rosie group, which made up the soundtrack of the film.
The film is subsequently screened during a series of exclusive events in the Epicenter of Los Angeles and Tokyo. (Source: “Prada”, edition 2009, Prada Arte project).
An animated short film, entitled Fallen Shadows and directed by James Lima. Inspired by the collection by Steven Maisel in the campaign with Linda Evangelista, features an innovative technique of overlapping digital and traditional images: a hand-painted backdrop makes the background a new generation animation created entirely on the computer. (Source: “Prada”, edition 2009, Prada Arte project).
Prada and Contemporary Art
The Waist Down Show
Among the projects for art, Waist Down, is an itinerant exhibition that collects and exhibits the most original and significant models of skirts created by Prada from 1988 to today. The show is conceived by Prada and AMO as a modified event from time to time based on the exhibition space intended to accommodate it. The inauguration of the exhibition takes place in 2004 at the Tokyo Interstate, the second location is the famous Peace Hotel in Shanghai.
In 2006, Waist Down moved to New York City Center in SoHo to continue at the Los Angeles Downtown in Beverly Hills and finish with the inaugural installation of the Prada Transformer in Seoul. Each evolution interprets and conforms to the different exhibition spaces, mixing activities and features of the event with the culture of the host city. With Tokyo in 2004, Shanghai in 2005, New York and Los Angeles in 2006, and Seoul in 2009. (Source: “Prada”, edition 2009, Prada Arte project).
Subsequently, the Prada Transformer project is an installation housed for six months next to the historic Gyeonghigung Palace in downtown Seoul, capital of South Korea. It will combine several disciplines within a single building, gathering the various facets of Prada while respecting its autonomy and uniqueness.
Designed by Prada, in collaboration with architect Rem Koolhaas, tetrahedron has been conceived to host four events dedicated to art, cinema, fashion, and the world of culture. Each event has a distinct planimetry: hexagonal, rectangular, cruciform, and circular. Compared to any typical exhibition space that suits everything, the Transformer literally overturns, adapting its appearance to the features of each event.
In recognition of the cultural value of this cutting-edge project, the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano wanted to include the Transformer on his state trip to Korea. This is the only case in the history of the Republic, where a private building is included in the program of the official visit of the Head of State.
The America’s Cup
The Prada Group’s horizons transcend the boundaries of fashion: art, architecture, cinema, culture. Also, major challenges such as the America’s Cup are an integral part of the core values of the brand. Passionate and competent sailor, in 1997 Patrizio Bertelli launched an Italian challenge to America’s Cup, the most important sailing international competition. The ‘Red Moon’ boat wins the Louis Vuitton Cup, the Challenger selections for the 2000 America’s Cup, thus winning the right to challenge the New Zealand defender, which will then be defeated in a fierce final. But ‘Luna Rossa’ will remain a national phenomenon, an icon that has written one of the most important pages in the history of Italian sports. Never before had a sailing event been so followed in Italy.
A few months later, the new Prada Foundation in Milan, curated by Rem Koolhaas, opens to the public in May 2015. An area of 17,500 square meters in an industrial complex of the early twentieth century. In the field of art and culture, the Foundation is considered a true reference world-wide. The attention and interest of Miuccia and Maurizio Bertelli for the contemporary art world lead to the decision to open a space where presenting exhibitions realized in full collaboration with Italian and international artists.
“Prada Foundation is an initiative that aims to receive and retransmit the deepest mental provocations of the art of our time.” Miuccia Prada.
Over the years, the Prada Foundation has explored several research subjects, opening up to issues related to areas such as architecture, philosophy, science, design, and cinema.
From 2011 to Today
Fondazione Prada in Venice
Starting June 2, 2011, the Foundation opened a new exhibition space Ca ‘Corner della Regina”. A prestigious eighteenth-century building overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice, after an important conservation restoration intervention. This impressive historic building, which was made available by the Venice Civic Museum Foundation for 6-12 years, has inaugurated a complex and articulated exhibition that reflects the multifaceted activity of the Foundation.
As of June 24, 2011, the Group placed 20% of its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, recording an initial valorization of the company at €9.2 billion, with the offer covered 3.5 times the available shares.
The “24 Hour Museum” Project
In 2012, Prada launches the “24 Hour Museum” project, conceived by Francesco Vezzoli, in collaboration with Rem Koolhaas’s AMO study. The installation for the “24 Hour Museum” has proposed three distinct moments, each inspired by a particular type of museum space: historical, contemporary, and forgotten. In the three areas, Francesco Vezzoli has imagined a “museum that is not there.” Where he exhibited his homage to the eternal feminine, and the interpretation of classical sculptures that allude a contemporary feel.
In the tradition of collaboration with artists and multiple approaches to the creative process, Prada intervenes to create a new project of linguistic and visual experimentation. The whole exhibition lasts 24 hours, a stage for a great party Baroque.
The Exhibition “Impossible Conversations”
Also in 2012, the Costume Institute, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, hosts the exhibition Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations. From May 10 to August 19, 2012 (preceded on May 7 by the Gala Benefit Event), the exhibition explored the unexpected affinities between the two Italian stylists belonging to different epochs.
Taking inspiration from Miguel Covarrubias’s “Interview impossible” for Vanity Fair in the 1930s, curators Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton gave rise to unreal conversations between these two women. Suggesting, new keys to reading their innovative work.
Elsa Schiaparelli’s and Miuccia Prada’s icons are presented in galleries. Along with 8 videos that simulate a series of conversations between the two stylists directed by Baz Luhrmann to illustrate how in their work they have explored similar themes through very different approaches.
Prada for “The Great Gatsby”
In 2013, Miuccia Prada collaborated with costume designer, Catherine Martin, to create a collection of over 40 exclusive evening cocktail dresses by Miu Miu and Prada for “The Great Gatsby” by Baz Luhrmann. A special show of selected costumes was exhibited at the New York Center from May 1 to May 12, then moved to the Tokyo Expo Center from June 14 to June 30, and finally moved to the IFC Mall in Shanghai from 11 to 21 September 2013.
The show, “Catherine Martin and Miuccia Prada Dress Gatsby”, combines evening dresses, hats, footwear, and jewelry with sketches, scene photos, backstage footage, and movie trailer. Also, mannequins wore the looks of each character accompanied by video from both the film and behind the scenes. Curated by New York’s 2 × 4 studio, the show was designed to change at each stage in order to reflect the unique features of each city that hosted it.
The Prada Gallery and Journal Projects
In 2013 Prada acquires an entire sky-earth portion of a property in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II overlooking the Ottagono and overlooking the historic store dedicated to female collections.
The project “The new Prada Gallery” is being developed in several phases. The first one sees the opening in 2013 of the new Prada Man shop on the ground floor of the palace. The spaces are entirely restored according to the aesthetic and architectural apts of the historic store of 1913.
The next phases of the project include the opening of a dining area on the mezzanine floor and the opening of exhibition spaces devoted to the Prada Foundation.
Also, in 2013 is the launch of Prada Journal, a literary competition in collaboration with Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore and Luxottica. The literary competition also arises from the curiosity of exploring innovative languages through forms of expression that converge on the written word, creating an independent platform of interest and an unusual editorial search reserve. Prada Journal had two more editions in 2014 and 2015.
Two New Short Film’s
In 2013, Prada presents Cannes’s short film “A Theraphy”, written and directed by Roman Polanski, starring Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham Carter. The author of The Pianist and Carnage has imagined a somewhat weird psychoanalytic sitting where Tim Burton’s wife interprets a rich and bored lady, gripped, while Kingsley is her analyst.
In 2014 another film collaboration: an 8-minute short film directed by critically acclaimed American director, Wes Anderson. Cavalcanti Castle is perfectly located in Anderson’s authoritative universe, only this time in Italy. It’s September 1955, and Jason Schwartzman just went to slam with his racing car against a statue of Jesus. The result is a popular story about cases of fate in a typical ‘Andersonian’ style.
Close to its first centenary, is a holding company employing more than 7800 employees and distributing its products through a network of 353 stores in more than 70 countries.
Acquisitions of 2014
In March, Prada SpA announces the acquisition of 80% of Angelo Marchesi Srl, owner of the Milanese pastry factory founded in 1824. The same year is the acquisition of the historic tannery Mégisserie Hervy at Isle, near Limoges. The acquisition was carried out jointly with Conceria Superior SpA of Santa Croce, a long-time industrial partner of the Prada Group. The aim of the operation is to ensure the recovery and revival of a productive structure which is an example of excellence in the tannin tradition of lamb skins and in particular of “plongé” tassels, with the aim of preserving its precious craft know-how.
Also in 2014, the launch of the Pradasphere project, an exhibition dedicated to the Prada brand and curated by the 2 × 4 studio in New York. The first edition is hosted by Harrods in London for a month. The exhibition follows the multifaceted obsession of the brand through fashion, art, architecture, cinema, sports and more, forty showcases, a pop-up store, video installations, and the elegant Marchesi pastry shop. The second edition of Pradasphere took place in Hong Kong, in a space specially created for the occasion.
After the acquisition of Angelo Marchesi Srl, in September 2015 Pasticceria Marchesi presents at the space, via Monte Napoleone 9. This is the first place after the opening of the historic Milanese coffee. Marchesi Monte Napoleone remains faithful to its style and its impeccable quality, offering a wider range of products. Designed by architect Roberto Baciocchi, the new shop extends over an area of 120 square meters and the interiors reinterpret the atmosphere and charm of Via Santa Maria at Porta 11 / a.
Within a year, Pasticceria Marchesi opened a third shop in the heart of Milan, within the emblematic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a symbol of the city. At the new space, located on the mezzanine floor of the building that houses Prada Man. You can access via stairs or elevators from both Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the Prada store. The new Marchesi space is spread over an area of 250 square meters and reinterprets the atmosphere and fascination of the historic shop of Via Santa Maria alla Porta. Located in a charming setting marked by numerous arch windows, overlooking the beautiful frescoes and precious floors to the mosaic of the Gallery.
The Restoration of the Last Supper by Giorgio Vasari
On November 4, 2016, Giorgio Vasari’s restored the masterpiece in Santa Croce, fifty years after the Flood. Thanks to the commitment of Opificio delle Pietre Dure and the contribution of Prada, Getty Foundation, and Civil Protection. The ceremony takes place in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella and Patrizio Bertelli, Managing Director of the Prada Group, Irene Sanesi, President of the Opera of Santa Croce, Marco Ciatti, Director of the Dure Stone Store, and Antoine Wilmering, Getty Foundation Senior Program Officer.
Giorgio Vasari’s Last Supper, which water and mud swept through this museum’s hall on November 4, 1966, has been preserved for decades in a Superintendency depot along with many other flooded works. After fifty years, thanks to new technologies, the restoration and the painting have been relocated to the Cenacolo. Thanks to the new technology, the Structure of Pietre Dure and the support of Prada, Getty Foundation and Civil Protection to make this possible. The Return of the Last Supper to Santa Croce is a virtuous example of patronage that has seen together in more than ten years. Thanks to Prada, who made it possible to intervene on the painting, the Getty Foundation for wooden support, and Civil Protection who allowed studies and surveys.
The Past Forward Project
Past Forward is a multi-platform film project born in 2016 by the collaboration between Miuccia Prada and US director and screenwriter, David O. Russell. Acclaimed for films such as American Hustle, The Fighter, and The Positive Side. Russell has imagined Past Forward as a dreamy, surreal, and silent landscape with an eclectic cast that re-plays scenes in variable combinations. The result is an unreliable story, a parallax view in which scenes, characters, costumes, genres, and even multiple endings, repeat and turn away. Rejecting the logic of conventional fiction. Russell represents his characters as elements of a complex collage, leaving the spectator the task of decoding what experience, memory, dream, and understanding overlap and differences between them.
Prada Opens Observatory
In December 2016, the Prada Foundation opens Osservatorio, a new exhibition space dedicated to photography and visual languages. Located at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. Observatory is a place of exploration and investigation of the trends and expressions of contemporary photography. The constant evolution of the medium and its connections with other creative disciplines and realities. In a historical moment, in which photography is an integral part of the global digital communication flow, the Prada Foundation, through Osservatorio’s activities, questions the cultural and social implications of current photographic production and its reception. It extends the repertoire of modes and tools with which the Foundation interprets and relies on the present.
Located on the fifth and sixth floor of one of the central buildings, the Osservatorio is above the octagonal, at the level of the glass and iron dome covering the Gallery created by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1867. The environments, rebuilt in After World War II following the bombings that struck the center of Milan in 1943, they underwent a restoration that made available an 800 m2 exhibition space developed on two levels.
The Shaping Conference at Creative Future
In March 2017, the Prada Group presented to Milan “Shaping to Creative Future”, a conference organized in collaboration with the Yale School of Management and the Politecnico of Milan School of Management. The event explored new possible connections between sustainability and innovation. This led to a confrontation between entrepreneurship, culture, and the international academic world. During the first day, at the Prada Foundation, teachers from both universities met with representatives of companies and associations to work out a critical perspective that was the focus of discussion on the next day. The following day, at Prada’s headquarters, entrepreneurial personalities, and spokespersons of international organizations met at a plenary conference, enriching the debate with inspirational insights and personal experiences.