The History of Prada: The Story Behind the Name

Prada is one of the most iconic brands in fashion history. The designers behind the brand have continually striven to be innovative while maintaining their classically refined style. The House of Prada has proven its longevity, and the Prada name will still be in demand for years to come. Here is the history of Prada and the famous name.


“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today when human contacts go so fast. Fashion is instant language.” – Miuccia Prada


The First Prada Store


The First Prada Store History of Prada: The Story Behind the Name
Photo courtesy of Prada


The first Prada store opened in 1913 in the prestigious Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II in Milan, Italy. Mario Prada opened the leather goods shop with his brother, Martino. The store sold bags, trunks, steamers, and travel accessories.

In 1919, Prada was awarded the title of Official Supplier of the Italian Royal House. This prestigious distinction allowed Prada to display the House of Savoy coat of arms and knotted rope design in its trademark logo. This honor is what makes Prada a symbol of the Italian aristocracy.

This history of Prada gets even more interesting. In the patriarchal style of the times, Mario Prada did not believe that women should work outside the home. He excluded his female family members from working for his company. Ironically, his only son had no interest in the family business. His daughter Luisa Prada took over the family business as Mario’s successor and ran it for almost twenty years.

Expanding the Business


Miuccia Prada The History of Prada: The Story Behind the Name
Photo courtesy of Prada


In the mid-1970s, Luisa’s daughter, Miuccia Prada, joined her mother in the family business. Miuccia initially devoted herself to designing accessories. She did continue the tradition of producing high-quality bags and luggage for the family business.


Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli The History of Prada: The Story Behind the Name
Photo courtesy of Prada


In 1977, Miuccia Prada met Patrizio Bertelli, a young Italian with his own leather goods business. He joined the Prada family business and his partnership with Miuccia took the history of Prada in a new direction. Miuccia’s sophisticated creativity and Bertelli’s entrepreneurial intuition helped expand the Prada business.

New Prada Products


Prada shoes history
Photo courtesy of Prada


The company first added footwear to their growing product line in 1979. Its first collection of women’s shoes was well received. The business continued to grow and gain attention. Prada expanded its network of directly-owned stores into markets all over the world. The stores were known for their clean aesthetic as well as the unique green hue the walls were painted. The color became known as “Prada Green.” The first “green store” opened in Milan in Via della Spiga. Boutiques in London, Madrid, Tokyo, Paris, and Tokyo followed.


first womenswear line The History of Prada: The Story Behind the Name
Photo courtesy of Prada


The global success of the Prada brand pushed Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli in new directions. A womenswear line was introduced in the late 80s. Prada’s first fall/winter collection debuted on the catwalks of Milan in 1988. The designs were distinct due to their dropped waistlines and narrow belts. The fashion world fell in love with Prada’s clean lines, luxurious fabrics, and color selections. The history of Prada turned as they became one of the most coveted brands in the fashion world by the early 1990s.

The House of Prada Today

Miuccia and Bertelli married in 1987, and the duo is still at the helm of the Prada family business. The Prada industry houses several smaller brands, such as Miu Miu, Church’s, Car Shoe, and Pasticceria Marchesi. The heart of the business is still the Prada brand. The classic Prada Linea Rossa was relaunched in 2018 to wide acclaim. Prada is most definitely here to stay.

Although the history of Prada is long, we know that you can’t get enough of the House of Prada even today. You will want to also see our article about what makes Prada’s bowler bag so iconic to learn more about this fashion house’s impact on the world of luxury design and women’s accessories.

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The History of Prada: The Story Behind the Name