Almost from the moment in 1988 when she introduced ready-to-wear into the family’s luggage business, Miuccia Prada has captivated the fashion world. She retains an aura of mystery while brokering a unique balance between commercial powerhouse and cerebral artiste, often changing course 180 degrees from season to season—with a flock of followers in cumbersome pursuit.
Since the archminimalism of her fall 1994 collection, which WWD said “made the world’s supermodels look like Hitler’s steno pool,” Prada has investigated, among other motifs, futurism, geek chic and Granny’s attic. She has celebrated bourgeois and haute style with equal conviction, and followed fall 2006’s dissertation on urban carnage—“It’s time to go back to the streets…, showing anger and being a little bit savage, to be ready for life”—with a springtime ode to the Forties pinup, framed by the heady sound bite that “beauty is a moral concept.”
Recently, Prada has dealt with sexual themes, including last fall’s quasi-classic focus on the bosom. Then, for spring, another flip, this time to “minimal Baroque,” full of fun, fox stoles and a fanciful monkey print. “Since I was very young, I always wanted to be before the trend,” Prada said last year. “Fashion, in that sense, is the last triumph of what’s new, of what was not done before. That is interesting.” Catch her if you can.