MILAN — For the first time, Prada is launching a campaign focused on a handbag and a single product: its statement Galleria bag.
Conceived in 2007, the bag has been reinterpreted in several iterations, and Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group head of marketing and head of corporate social responsibility, told WWD he believes the campaign will bring renewed attention to a key product that may not be so recognizable to a new generation of consumers.
“In time, you may end up taking things for granted, but it’s important to talk about ourselves and our products to the new generations, following up with them,” said Bertelli. “Familiarity may lead to complacency. Cyclically, you have to tell your story and represent the values of the brand within the company and outside to the customers.”
A dedicated campaign, expected to launch today, will help “maintain our visibility at a time when there is so much competition,” continued Bertelli. “We need to stay relevant, and even more so in this moment of big changes.”
The Galleria is among Prada’s bestsellers, an iconic design for the brand, noted the young executive.
As reported, last year the leather goods category, which accounted for 56 percent of Prada’s sales, saw double-digit growth in the second half of the year in Asia, the U.S., and the Middle East. In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, group revenues totaled 2.42 billion euros.
Prada tapped American actress and artist Hunter Schafer to front the campaign, and Canadian actor, film director and screenwriter filmmaker Xavier Dolan to direct it, allowing him complete freedom and independence, channeling his personal vision into the identity of the Prada Galleria.
Schafer made her debut portraying Jules in the HBO series “Euphoria” in 2019. In February, she was part of the group of talents and friends of the brand, from Marc Jacobs to architect Rem Koolhaas, in conversation with co-creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons after the digital presentation of the women’s fall 2021 show to discuss the collection from a multidisciplinary perspective.
“Choosing Hunter was consistent and in sync with the fall show and we have a good relationship with her, she worked well with us and so did we,” said Bertelli. While he credited his mother Miuccia Prada, Simons and their team with the creative choices, conceding he gives “his opinion and support,” he believes the “good feeling” with Schafer would translate into a successful campaign.
Dolan’s directorial debut, “I Killed My Mother,” which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in at the age of 20, premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, where it received the Art Cinema Award, the SACD Prize for screenplay, and the Prix Regards Jeunes. His fifth feature, “Mommy,” won the César Award for Best Foreign Film in 2015. The same year Dolan sat on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival, and directed the video for Adele’s single “Hello.”
For his cinematic short for Prada, Dolan created a sequence of micro narratives, marked by “a joyful mood,” said Bertelli, who stressed that “there was no brief given in that sense. It reflects the mood of the moment.” After the hardships and restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a natural “desire to return to smiling.”
Schafer is seen as a romantic young girl and her fantasy is the Prada Galleria, reimagined in different contexts, jolting between imaginary scenes and scenarios. Prada cited Ferdinando Verderi as creative director of the campaign, which will be mainly digital, with a few exceptions, such as outdoor images, said Bertelli.
Asked about the investment, since the campaign will stretch out throughout the year, Bertelli demurred. “It’s an effort for us, but it’s also based on the performance of the campaign, so we don’t really know yet.”
Sleek yet functional, the bag is named after the location of Prada’s storied flagship in Milan — the luxury Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where the brand was founded by Mario Prada, Miuccia Prada’s grandfather, in 1913.
The bag was originally offered in Saffiano leather — a scratch and water-resistant calfskin defined by a crosshatched surface texture, a material patented by Mario Prada and still a leitmotif of the brand today, created via an intricate hot-pressing process; raw edges are smoothed and hand-painted to match.
The bag is marked by simple and pure lines, reminiscent of medicine-style bags popular in the midcentury, with its rectilinear shape and curved top handle. The interior includes a trio of parallel compartments, two zipped with another pocket hidden deep inside.
The Galleria bag is composed of 83 pieces, combining industrial precision with manual craftsmanship.
Prada has over the years revisited the surface of the bag in different hides, embellishments, colors and embroideries or topstitching.