MILAN — When the 2006 film “The Devil Wears Prada” was released, Miuccia Prada had her doubts.
“I was terrified: the book was awful,” she revealed to Italy’s daily Corriere della Sera online edition this week, adding: “The film, on the other hand, was fun.”
Prada discussed topics ranging from the upcoming opening of the new Fondazione Prada art museum in Milan, to her involvement in Italy’s Communist party decades ago and how she met her husband, Prada chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli, at a trade show.
Asked whether the two argue frequently, Prada said: “Yes, about unimportant things. I don’t know, like making spaghetti or pizza. When it comes to very important things, we think alike. We have a very similar mental outlook. Although Bertelli is more of an anarchist than a child of the PCI [Italian Communist party].”
Recalling herself as a flower child with a penchant for designer fashion — the sort who wore Yves Saint Laurent with clogs at protests — Prada noted that in the Sixties, “I was in the women’s movement, but rather than the feminists, I chose the UDI, the Union of Women, which was closer to the PCI. Perhaps it had a more orderly spirit: less rebellious, more pragmatic. The feminists supported absolute freedom. The PCI was focused on day care, on clinics.”
Prada also touched on Italy’s problems with organized crime — “It doesn’t only happen in our country, but it’s a little worse here” – and whether Venice, which houses a Fondazione Prada site, is in danger of becoming an oversize theme park.
“It’s important that tourism exists,” she observed, adding that while criticizing crass consumerism is easy, proposing viable alternatives presents more of a challenge.
Concerning François Pinault’s investment in Venice’s Punta della Dogana, which houses an extensive art collection, Prada said: “I think that Pinault sincerely loves art. And I don’t think that one can criticize a private individual who invests in art. If anything, it’s the State, the public sector, which in turn needs to invest.”
Noting that “abroad, people have a higher opinion of Italy than we do,” responding to a question about listing her company on the Hong Kong bourse, the designer said, “if you are only Italian, you’re cut off from the world. If you’re not international, you don’t exist.”
She also expressed cautious optimism about the world Expo, which kicks off this weekend in Milan.
“At first I was a little negative. Now I hope it will be good for the city,” she said, adding that she’s not a fan of “generalist” expositions. “It seemed to me that there were more urgent things to spend all that money on. But the theme of nutrition is important. And there are so many people who have mobilized. How Expo will turn out, I don’t know.”