MILAN — Prada has been pumping up its investments in the city of Milan, but chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli told Italy’s La Repubblica daily newspaper on Thursday that the city “has yet to find its new identity, it’s in a gray area.”

Prada has recently opened its men’s store in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, opposite its first historical unit, contributing to the restoration of the luxury shopping arcade; purchased the Milanese Pasticceria  Marchesi pastry store with plans to expand it, and is gearing up to open its new sprawling Fondazione Prada headquarters in May, but Bertelli contends that “it’s time for [Milan] to open up to novelty to find new impulse.”
After the war, mused Bertelli, Milan found its stance as an industrial city with strong economic and cultural connotations, but has later been facing issues related to services and infrastructures, struggling to  stay up to speed with cultural, social and religious changes. As for Milan’s association to fashion, the executive said the latter is “not enough, it can be a reference point but it can’t represent the identity of a city.” He compared Milan to Munich or Zurich, “efficient and well-integrated in an advanced economic web, reference points for the world of business. But there is still a huge distance from London, Paris or Berlin. Let’s see if with Expo we will manage to take a step forward.” Despite the initial legal and bureaucratic bumps the city had with the international Expo, due to open in May, Bertelli was positive about the event. As he was in his support and faith in the city, although he lamented the fact that Prada’s opening of the foundation  “is in the interest of the city, but some things are perceived as selfish.”

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