By  on March 7, 1994

MILAN -- Now Prada has New York fever.Miuccia Prada, owner and designer of the Milan fashion company, said Friday she has decided to bring her collection to Manhattan in April.Her announcement comes on the heels of Giorgio Armani's declaration last week that he is mulling a New York show next month and at a time when such designers as Dolce & Gabbana, Krizia, Gianni Versace and Rifat Ozbek -- who just moved his show from Milan to Paris -- have been talking about hitting the New York runways."I have always loved New York, and this is something I have been thinking about for some time," Prada said. "Now, with all the problems connected with the shows here, and our interest in expanding in the U.S. market, it is something we have decided to do."She said the house would show on the evening of April 11, the sixth day of the New York shows. While Prada noted she has been in contact with the Council of the Fashion Designers of America, it still hasn't been determined whether the show will be staged under one of the tents in Bryant Park.In New York, Fern Mallis, executive director of the CFDA, said Prada inquired Friday about showing during 7th on Sixth, which is produced in cooperation with the CFDA, and that an information package was being sent to the company by courier. Mallis said a slot at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 11, in the Josephine Pavilion, the smaller of the two tents in Bryant Park, has been tentatively set aside for Prada.No other European designers have inquired about showing except for Armani, who, as reported, has discussed a Saturday, April 9, show in the Gertrude Pavilion, the bigger tent, Mallis said.Prada, who showed her line Thursday morning in Milan, said she started thinking seriously about a New York show when she was there for the CFDA Awards dinner last month. At the time, she said, she was ready to skip the Milan presentation altogether and just show in New York."But then I changed my mind because I thought it was too abrupt and people might have thought we weren't ready with the clothes, or something," she said. Prada declined to say whether this was a step toward abandoning Milan altogether."For now, we're trying with the two shows. Then, we'll see," she said.She admitted that although problems with the Milan show calendar have never kept the company from showing before, this year it was forced to show at an inconveniently early hour and has been discouraged by all the confusion and disorganization surrounding the Milan schedule."We've always been able to show, but psychologically it's a bit discouraging. We get the feeling that all the Italians are leaving and there'll just be a handful of us left," she said.The New York show also fits into Prada's strategy of expanding its presence in the New York market, she added, where the company currently does 20 percent of its overall sales of roughly $119 million (200 billion lire).In addition, Prada noted, the design house has just completed negotiations for its first Miu Miu store in the U.S. and its third overall. It is set to open in September on Wooster Street in Manhattan's SoHo district. Miu Miu is Prada's secondary line. Other Miu Miu stores are in Milan and Paris.Additionally, negotiations are under way for a Prada boutique on Madison Avenue in New York, she said. It will be the second Prada store in New York.

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