Prada Said Mulling Miu Miu Move to Paris Shows

Miuccia Prada, a pillar of Milan Fashion Week, might be moving her Miu Miu show to Paris, as sources said she has requested a time slot on March 5.

PARIS — Miuccia Prada, one of the pillars of Milan Fashion Week, might be moving her Miu Miu show to Paris.

Sources here said the influential Italian designer has requested a time slot on Sunday, March 5, at the climax of Paris Fashion Week for her more affordable second line. A possible roadblock is said to be finding a suitable location for her Paris debut.

A Prada spokesman in Milan would only say the firm has optioned Feb. 24 in Milan as the date for its fall 2006 Miu Miu show.

But should Prada take the plunge, it would be a blow to Milan’s much-criticized fashion week. It would also leave a gap toward the end of the Milan schedule, recently a bugbear for Italian designers given that some major editors prefer a shorter week and flee town before the shows wind up.

With a condensed five-day Milan season last September deemed a disaster by both organizers and designers, all had committed to seven days of shows this season. Giorgio Armani was tentatively looking at showing on the opening Sunday, Feb. 19. However, Armani now plans to show on Monday, Feb. 20, as the Milan calendar continues to shift.

Prada’s main collection, one of the most closely watched on the circuit, is scheduled for Feb. 21 in Milan.

Meanwhile, having Miu Miu in Paris would be another coup for the fashion capital, whose show week already boasts major designers from England, Japan, Belgium and beyond. Last October, Brit Antonio Berardi and Frenchman Gilles Rosier were the latest to leave Milan and join the Paris calendar.

Miu Miu would also crowd an already jam-packed Paris week. The day it picked typically includes houses such as Louis Vuitton, Valentino and Lanvin.

Didier Grumbach, president of the French Fashion Federation that organizes the Paris shows, has long said he expects more international players to gravitate to Paris, possibly even some American brands.

Named after its creator’s nickname, Miu Miu was introduced in 1992 as “anti-fashion fashion.” The label has a habit of globe-trotting and moved its show to the U.S. for three seasons starting in 1994. It was one of the first of a number of secondary Italian lines to hop over to New York Fashion Week. In 1997, Miu Miu showed in London for one season before returning again to Milan.

This story first appeared in the January 12, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The accessory-strong brand has carved out a separate identity from the main Prada line by associating itself with emerging actors, artists and musicians. While indie stars such as Ludivine Sagnier and Selma Blair have populated its advertisements, Miu Miu’s forthcoming spring campaign will feature Kim Basinger and newcomer Camilla Belle.

Miu Miu has recently become a strategic priority for Prada Group, which is focusing on its core business after experiencing troubles with other brands in its stable. To that end, Prada recently formed a new company called Prada SpA Group, which excludes the money-losing businesses of Helmut Lang and Jil Sander and its minority stake in shoemaker Church.