From Mario Prada’s gallery shop to today’s world-class Miuccia luxury made-to-order Italian fashion group. Read the story and anecdotes of the Prada brand
- From the Origins to 2000s
- From 2000 to 2005
- From 2005 to 2010
- From 2011 to Today
- Fondazione Prada in Venice
- The “24 Hour Museum” Project
- The Exhibition “Impossible Conversations”
- Prada “The Great Gatsby”
- The Prada Gallery and Journal Projects
- Two New Short Film’s
- Acquisitions of 2014
- Marchesi Pasteries
- The Restoration of the Last Supper by Giorgio Vasari
- The Past Forward Project
- Prada Opens Observatory
- The Shaping Conference at Creative Future
The origins of Prada begin in 1913 when Mario Prada, Milanese luxury craftsman, opened a shop at Galleria Vittorio II in Milan.
Prada is innovative in the field of travel goods, accessories, and luxury goods. The branded uses refined materials, high quality craftsmanship and state of the art design for its products. The brand has quickly become a point of reference for leather accessories and items precious from all over the world.
Thanks to the quality of its creations, Prada meets the demand of the most demanding, experienced clients of the international market, and of high society. In 1919 Mario became an official supplier of the Real Casa d’Italia, obtaining the right to include the coat of arms and the Sabaudi knots in his own brand. (Source: “Prada”, edition 2009, Prada Arte project).
On the other hand, Mario Prada ideas made it clear, his goal was to:
“Collapse the shortage of objects that participated in the adventure of stylism, but with detachment; They were fashionable, and unable to go fashionable in the course of a season.”
Mario’s granddaughter, Miuccia, is an ex-jury of the good bourgeoisie, a sixty-year-old passionate about theater and mime, enrolled at the Small Theater School and the Udi (Union of Italian Women) of the Communist Party.
In 1978 Miucca became part of the family business. Together with her partner and husband, Patrizio Bertelli, they transformed the brand into a world-class luxury goods Made in Italy business. After Miucca took over, the brand begins to compete with Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès, Gucci.
The company becomes highly industrial, and at the end of 1997 Prada can rely on:
- 8 establishments with 1184 direct employees;
- 119 single-store shops, of which 94 are directly controlled;
- A total turnover of 1,147,202 billion lire.
The stages of this ascent to the top of international fashion are marked by Miuccia’s creative intuitions and Patrizio Bertelli’s clever business strategies and communication.
In the early 1980s, Nylon handbags arrived in a patented material, Pocono, originally used for military parachutes. Bags are identified by the iconic logo: an inverted metal triangle inspired by the closure of Mario Prada’s trunks, which soon become objects of worship. In 1979 the first shoe collection was launched.
In 1983 he opened the first Green Store in Milan, designed by architect Roberto Baciocchi. It is characterized by a particular shade of light green that will soon be recognized worldwide as Green Prada. From this moment on, the brand opens a network of Green Stores all over the world, the color remaining so unique. (Source: “Prada“, edition 2009, Prada Arte project).
In 1988 the big jump in women’s clothing took place. The decade of the most spectacular hedonism and consumerism of the century. Opposed to “minimalism”, Prada’s fashion is actually the conceptual elaboration and aesthetic disorder of our time, but without any abstraction.
Prada is Miucca, a bourgeois and schismatic girl who has become a character, with her stage in New York. She turns naked legs even at 10 degrees below zero, wears woolen socks with sandals, and wears a second-long chiffon skirt over rough tweed, which invented her wind-jacketed jackets.
Only after becoming a “case” in the United States and the Anglo-Saxon press, the Prada-Bertelli reported collections on the Milanese catwalks. The Italian journalists who, before the American trip, left empty whole files of the fashion shows in Melzi d’Eril , are left outside the door of the new Via Maffei.
There is a scandal in print, with accusations of censorship. But, the name Prada becomes popular far beyond the fashion world. Also, because the couple follows the common passion for contemporary art, and become collectors to patrons.
- 1993: Prada Foundation was founded, followed by the first exhibitions: Eliseo Mattiacci and Nino Franchina. In the same year the Men’s line and Miu Miu, the independent brand created specifically for Miuccia, were created.
- 1995: The Prada Foundation, a Milan art space, hosts artists such as Anish Kapoor, Michael Heizer, Louise Bourgeois, Dan Flavin, Laurie Anderson, Sam Taylor Wood, Mariko Mori.
- 1997: Patricia Bertelli, a sailor expert, decides to sponsor and take part in the 2000 America’s Cup in New Zealand.
The choice is to support the new line Sport, a research laboratory for new materials, forms, and behaviors.
- June 1998: the brand becomes an important shareholder of Gucci, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. However, in January 1999, with 34.4% of Gucci by the French group, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy), Prada surrenders its shares to Bernard Arnault. In six months the brand achieved a surplus of 192 billion Lire to invest in the increasingly international brand development.
In the following years:
- The purchase of the majority of Helmut Lang;
- Participation in De Rigo (glasses);
- A minority stake in Church’s, English shoes;
- Then the big hit, the purchase of Jil Sander (75 percent of ordinary shares and 15 of those listed on the Stock Exchange);
- Finally the winning public offering of the Church’s majority and the alliance with Bernard Arnault and his Lunch for the holding of the Fendibrand. It is the end of August 1999.
In 1999, the brand inaugurated a unique project in collaboration with AMO, the think-tank of Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and the architect Rem Koolhaas. Miuccia and Patrizio Bertelli entrust AMO with the task of analyzing world shopping trends, conceptualizing new products and applying their findings to new types of stores. Thus, the project of three Epicenter projects, designed outside the type of Green Store, is designed to become a true experimental laboratory.
Strong with an identity that transcends the simple brand, the company continues to affirm its originality in new and unexpected ways. He is among the first to collaborate with visionary architects such as Rem Koolhaas and Herzog & de Meuron, winners of the prestigious Pritzker Prize. The Epicenter of New York, Tokyo and Los Angeles, so different from the classic concept of the store, are the result of A careful analysis of the dynamics of the market in contemporary society and of revolutionary architectural innovation. In these boutiques are exposed luxury goods that are the result of extraordinary technology and design, alongside a multitude of exclusive activities and events. (Source: “Prada”, edition 2009, Prada Arte project)
At the beginning of the year, the company is recognized by Interbrand among the 100 most important brands in the world. Starting in 2000, the brand presents its collections in Fogazzaro Street, Milan, in a former industrial establishment. The building, renovated for this purpose, is constantly being reconfigured, giving rise to new architectural environments. In order to enhance the concept of collections, in fact, unique movies, videos and sound settings are projected. (Source: “Prada“, 2009 edition, Prada Arte project)
A joint venture with LVMH, called Lvp Holding Bv, is formed in July for the acquisition of 51% of Fendi’s ordinary shares. In October, the acquisition of 100% of Azzedine Alaia’s shares will take place. The Eyewear and Beauty collections debut.
Consolidated sales grew 56.6% compared to 1999. Gross margin increased by 49.8%. Net income was down 184 billion lire (-42.7%). However, the 1999 figure is influenced by the gain on the sale of Guccishares to the LVMH, net of which the profits would be 134 billion.
The debt remains high, but it is not due to financial mismanagement, but from the many acquisitions carried out in 1999 and 2000: Church’s, Helmut Lang, Jil Sander, Fendi (joint venture with LVMH) and Azzedine Alaia. Significant ratio of net debt to net equity improved in 2000, thanks to Prada Holding’s capital increase of €260 million.
The budget of the Jil Sander House, which accounts for 10% of total turnover, showed a turnover of €134.8 million. The markets with the largest competitive presence is Germany and American. In Italy, the brand is present in Milan, with a showroom in Piazza Castello.
- February: Acquisition of 70% Santacroce.
- April: Acquisition of 51% of the company Car Shoe, a brand created and patented in 1962 by the Lombard artisan Gianni Mostile, shoe manufacturer for motorcycle enthusiasts. The value of the operation was not known.
- July: Acquisition of 70% of Genny, a Marche company led by Donatella Girombelli. Rumors add up to $100 billion to $120 billion in sales, a figure that must be taken out of the high debt.
- November: Agreement with LVMH for the sale of 50% of the Prada Group’s holding in Lvp Holding BV (holding Fendi’s shares owned by LVMH and Prada) for a value of €295 million. Prada and LVMH had purchased 51% of Fendi in 1999, paying $425 million. The figure serves to lower the indebtedness of the Italian Group.
After three years of research, the brand opens the first Epicenter in New York, at Broadway’s Guggenheim Museum SoHo. Rem Koolhaas and OMA create a scenic spectacular design of a wooden wave linking the ground floor to the bottom. With suspended and motorized hanger cages that move along a network of ceiling mounted rails, and a real stage that Gets out of the wave to host special events. The project has an immediate success and remains one of the most prominent contemporary Pradastores worldwide.
One of the most important features of the New York Center is the northern wall that extends for a whole block, reaching the length of sixty meters. From the earliest designs, OMA conceived the wall as a kind of canvas on which to apply temporary wallpaper. Prada and New York Design Studio 2 × 4 have created different wallpaper to produce ever-newer content. Almost at the same time as the opening of the New York Center, Prada started designing the second Epicenter, located in Tokyo, with the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. (Source: “Prada”, 2009 edition, Prada Arte project)
The long-awaited listing on the Milan Stock Exchange is postponed due to the unfavorable time. The multiple acquisitions made in recent years have exacerbated the debtor situation of the Group, which, in order to face it, is considering issuing. It paves the €700 million bond in favor of Prada. The demand from investors was five times higher than the availability. The €700 million will be used: 300 for capital increase and 400 for repayment of debts.
- March: Debut in Moscow, in the central Tretyakov Passage, the first single-member in Russia. Group Partner is Mercury Distribution.
- June: A joint venture was established with the Puig group for the creation and distribution of perfumes and cosmetics marked by the Prada brand. With the purchase of the remaining 25% of Jil Sander, Prada has total control of the German brand.
- August:. The remaining 24.29% of Genny Spa is found. The Genny and Byblos brands, to which Ozium is added, are present in the high-end prêt-à-porter and in other product lines including leather goods, glasses, and perfumes through contracts License.
- September: Fabio Zambernardi is the design director of the Prada and Miu Miu brands for clothing, footwear, and accessories lines. The limited edition GTS Chrono-Automatic IWC for Prada watch is launched.
Prada and Miu Miu’s direct sales outlets total 160. Group revenues amounted to €1.57 billion. The business volume has maintained a balanced geographical distribution: 26% Italy, 25% rest of Europe, 23% North America and 26% Japan and Asia-Pacific area. Historical brands Prada and Miu Miu contributed 83% of total revenues. Consolidated net income is €27 million.
- March: An agreement was reached for the distribution of Prada glasses with the company Avante-Garde Optics (Luxottica Group) in the USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Bertelli announces Group plans for the year. Investments will fall from €130 million in 2002 to €100 million, and will be channeled mainly in the relaunch of younger brands.
Debut a new flagship store in the Ginza district of Tokyo. The third in the Land of the Levant. For the occasion, Prada has produced a Limited Edition Series (2000 copies) exclusively for the Japanese market.
The new Epicenter Prada debuted in Tokyo, designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron. The six-story building, located in the Aoyama district, is one of the city’s most recognizable architectural works. The green glass façade protrudes from a diagonal grid that forms the structure, while it houses commercial areas, lounges and spaces for events. (Source: “Prada”, edition 2009, Prada Arte project).
- July: A ten-year license agreement with Luxottica Group, a world leader in the optical industry, for the production and distribution of sunglasses and watches with the brands Prada and Miu Miu, begins. The deal contemplates the acquisition by Luxottica of the 100% production and distribution companies of the Prada Group, for a total value of €26.5 million.
In 2004, it opens the flagship store of Hong Kong. Miuccia receives New York’s International Award from Cfda.
After the success of the New York Center, OMA plans a new space on the historic Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. In some respects, the new project is the reverse of New York: a wave rises from the road level, rises to the second floor and goes down again. The facade is made up of a single aluminum plate. Many of the inner walls are made up of a special resin sponge that gives an unusual ‘porous’ appearance to the spaces. (Source: “Prada”, 2009 edition, Prada Arte project)
In the same year, the brand expanded its activities by sponsoring Luna Rossa, a sailboat participating in the America’s Cup, and the consequent introduction of the ad hoc technical clothing line the following year.
In April, an agreement was reached with Aedes. This will give rise to Real Estate International, which acquires Prada Group real estate assets for an estimated value of about €100 million and with a capital gain of €30 million of Prada.
Meanwhile, Helmut Lang’s acquisition is completed. The brand headquarters in New York are moved to Milan, while opting for the suspension of Genny’s clothing line, acquired three years earlier.
In 2005, Simonetta Ciampi was appointed design director for bags and accessories. In the following period, the Group became lighter. With the sale of Helmut Lang, Jil Sander (2006) and Azzedine Alaïa, which returned to 100% in the hands of the Franco-Tunisian designer, while investors entered Banca Intesa, a 5% stake. This involves the incorporation of the Lamos shoe factory and in conjunction with the announcement of the start of the auction.
Also in 2005, for launching the first female fragrance, Miuccia Prada invites filmmaker Ridley Scott, and her daughter Jordan, to collaborate on the production of a short film. To represent the complexity of the feminine essence, Jordan chooses an ancient 1st-century poem entitled “Thunder Perfect Mind”, which illustrates the countless facets of the female psyche. “Thunder Perfect Mind” is shot by father and daughter in Berlin, and has Daria Werbowy, protagonist of the different female roles of wife, virgin, mother, daughter, and lover. (Source: “Prada”, 2009 edition, Prada Arte project)
In March 2007, Prada launched a Phone by LG, the first fully mobile touch screen phone. More than a million pieces sold in 18 months of presence on the market. The process of asset optimization gives its fruit: Prada S.p.A. Closes 2007 with record profit of €127 million, up 65.8% over the previous year.
At the beginning of 2008, during the New York Fashion Week, Trembled Blossoms is presented. In line with the brand’s creative process, Tremclothing, bags, and packaging. The Trembled Blossoms movie is presentedbled Blossoms is born out of contradictory ideas. The interweaving of Miuccia Prada’s many inspirations, ranging from Art Nouveau to Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings, are perfectly restored by surreal designs by artist James Jean, which stimulate the creation of wallpaper, animated shorts, printed fabrics, at the New York Center in the fall of 2007, accompanied by a live performance by the Coco Rosie group, which made up the soundtrack of the film.
The film is subsequently screened during a series of exclusive events in the Epicenter of Los Angeles and Tokyo. (Source: “Prada”, edition 2009, Prada Arte project).
An animated short film, entitled Fallen Shadows and directed by James Lima. Inspired by the collection by Steven Maisel in the campaign with Linda Evangelista, features an innovative technique of overlapping digital and traditional images: a hand-painted backdrop makes the background a new generation animation created entirely on the computer. (Source: “Prada”, edition 2009, Prada Arte project).
Among the projects for art, Waist Down, is an itinerant exhibition that collects and exhibits the most original and significant models of skirts created by Prada from 1988 to today. The show is conceived by Prada and AMO as a modified event from time to time based on the exhibition space intended to accommodate it. The inauguration of the exhibition takes place in 2004 at the Tokyo Interstate, the second location is the famous Peace Hotel in Shanghai.
In 2006, Waist Down moved to New York City Center in SoHo to continue at the Los Angeles Downtown in Beverly Hills and finish with the inaugural installation of the Prada Transformer in Seoul. Each evolution interprets and conforms to the different exhibition spaces, mixing activities and features of the event with the culture of the host city. With Tokyo in 2004, Shanghai in 2005, New York and Los Angeles in 2006, and Seoul in 2009. (Source: “Prada”, edition 2009, Prada Arte project).
Subsequently, the Prada Transformer project is an installation housed for six months next to the historic Gyeonghigung Palace in downtown Seoul, capital of South Korea. It will combine several disciplines within a single building, gathering the various facets of Prada while respecting its autonomy and uniqueness.
Designed in collaboration with architect Rem Koolhaas, tetrahedron has been conceived to host four events dedicated to art, cinema, fashion, and the world of culture. Each event has a distinct planimetry: hexagonal, rectangular, cruciform, and circular. Compared to any typical exhibition space that suits everything, the Transformer literally overturns, adapting its appearance to the features of each event.
In recognition of the cultural value of this cutting-edge project, the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano wanted to include the Transformer on his state trip to Korea. This is the only case in the history of the Republic, where a private building is included in the program of the official visit of the Head of State.
The Group’s horizons transcend the boundaries of fashion: art, architecture, cinema, culture. Also, major challenges such as the America’s Cup are an integral part of the core values of the brand. Passionate and competent sailor, in 1997 Patrizio Bertelli launched an Italian challenge to America’s Cup, the most important sailing international competition. The ‘Red Moon’ boat wins the Louis Vuitton Cup, the Challenger selections for the 2000 America’s Cup, thus winning the right to challenge the New Zealand defender, which will then be defeated in a fierce final. But ‘Luna Rossa’ will remain a national phenomenon, an icon that has written one of the most important pages in the history of Italian sports. Never before had a sailing event been so followed in Italy.
A few months later, the new Foundation in Milan, curated by Rem Koolhaas, opens to the public in May 2015. An area of 17,500 square meters in an industrial complex of the early twentieth century. In the field of art and culture, the Foundation is considered a true reference world-wide. The attention and interest of Miuccia and Maurizio Bertelli for the contemporary art world lead to the decision to open a space where presenting exhibitions realized in full collaboration with Italian and international artists.
“Prada Foundation is an initiative that aims to receive and retransmit the deepest mental provocations of the art of our time.” Miuccia Prada.
Over the years, the Foundation has explored several research subjects, opening up to issues related to areas such as architecture, philosophy, science, design, and cinema.
Starting June 2, 2011, the Foundation opened a new exhibition space Ca ‘Corner della Regina”. A prestigious eighteenth-century building overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice, after an important conservation restoration intervention. This impressive historic building, which was made available by the Venice Civic Museum Foundation for 6-12 years, has inaugurated a complex and articulated exhibition that reflects the multifaceted activity of the Foundation.
As of June 24, 2011, the Group placed 20% of its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, recording an initial valorization of the company at €9.2 billion, with the offer covered 3.5 times the available shares.
In 2012, Prada launches the “24 Hour Museum” project, conceived by Francesco Vezzoli, in collaboration with Rem Koolhaas’s AMO study. The installation for the “24 Hour Museum” has proposed three distinct moments, each inspired by a particular type of museum space: historical, contemporary, and forgotten. In the three areas, Francesco Vezzoli has imagined a “museum that is not there.” Where he exhibited his homage to the eternal feminine, and the interpretation of classical sculptures that allude a contemporary feel.
In the tradition of collaboration with artists and multiple approaches to the creative process, the brand intervenes to create a new project of linguistic and visual experimentation. The whole exhibition lasts 24 hours, a stage for a great party Baroque.
Also in 2012, the Costume Institute, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, hosts the exhibition Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations. From May 10 to August 19, 2012 (preceded on May 7 by the Gala Benefit Event), the exhibition explored the unexpected affinities between the two Italian stylists belonging to different epochs.
Taking inspiration from Miguel Covarrubias’s “Interview impossible” for Vanity Fair in the 1930s, curators Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton gave rise to unreal conversations between these two women. Suggesting, new keys to reading their innovative work.
Elsa Schiaparelli’s and Miuccia’s icons are presented in galleries. Along with 8 videos that simulate a series of conversations between the two stylists directed by Baz Luhrmann to illustrate how in their work they have explored similar themes through very different approaches.
In 2013, Miuccia collaborated with costume designer, Catherine Martin, to create a collection of over 40 exclusive evening cocktail dresses by Miu Miu and Prada for “The Great Gatsby” by Baz Luhrmann. A special show of selected costumes was exhibited at the New York Center from May 1 to May 12, then moved to the Tokyo Expo Center from June 14 to June 30, and finally moved to the IFC Mall in Shanghai from 11 to 21 September 2013.
The show, “Catherine Martin and Miuccia Prada Dress Gatsby”, combines evening dresses, hats, footwear, and jewelry with sketches, scene photos, backstage footage, and movie trailer. Also, mannequins wore the looks of each character accompanied by video from both the film and behind the scenes. Curated by New York’s 2 × 4 studio, the show was designed to change at each stage in order to reflect the unique features of each city that hosted it.
In 2013 the brand acquires an entire sky-earth portion of a property in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II overlooking the Ottagono and overlooking the historic store dedicated to female collections.
The project “The new Prada Gallery” is being developed in several phases. The first one sees the opening in 2013 of the new Man shop on the ground floor of the palace. The spaces are entirely restored according to the aesthetic and architectural apts of the historic store of 1913.
The next phases of the project include the opening of a dining area on the mezzanine floor and the opening of exhibition spaces devoted to the Foundation.
Also, in 2013 is the launch of Prada Journal, a literary competition in collaboration with Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore and Luxottica. The literary competition also arises from the curiosity of exploring innovative languages through forms of expression that converge on the written word, creating an independent platform of interest and an unusual editorial search reserve. Prada Journal had two more editions in 2014 and 2015.
In 2013, the brand presents Cannes’s short film “A Theraphy”, written and directed by Roman Polanski, starring Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham Carter. The author of The Pianist and Carnage has imagined a somewhat weird psychoanalytic sitting where Tim Burton’s wife interprets a rich and bored lady, gripped, while Kingsley is her analyst.
In 2014 another film collaboration: an 8-minute short film directed by critically acclaimed American director, Wes Anderson. Cavalcanti Castle is perfectly located in Anderson’s authoritative universe, only this time in Italy. It’s September 1955, and Jason Schwartzman just went to slam with his racing car against a statue of Jesus. The result is a popular story about cases of fate in a typical ‘Andersonian’ style.
Close to its first centenary, is a holding company employing more than 7800 employees and distributing its products through a network of 353 stores in more than 70 countries.
In March, the Group announces the acquisition of 80% of Angelo Marchesi Srl, owner of the Milanese pastry factory founded in 1824. The same year is the acquisition of the historic tannery Mégisserie Hervy at Isle, near Limoges. The acquisition was carried out jointly with Conceria Superior SpA of Santa Croce, a long-time industrial partner of the Group. The aim of the operation is to ensure the recovery and revival of a productive structure which is an example of excellence in the tannin tradition of lamb skins and in particular of “plongé” tassels, with the aim of preserving its precious craft know-how.
Also in 2014, the launch of the Pradasphere project, an exhibition dedicated to the brand and curated by the 2 × 4 studio in New York. The first edition is hosted by Harrods in London for a month. The exhibition follows the multifaceted obsession of the brand through fashion, art, architecture, cinema, sports and more, forty showcases, a pop-up store, video installations, and the elegant Marchesi pastry shop. The second edition of Pradasphere took place in Hong Kong, in a space specially created for the occasion.
After the acquisition of Angelo Marchesi Srl, in September 2015 Pasticceria Marchesi presents at the space, via Monte Napoleone 9. This is the first place after the opening of the historic Milanese coffee. Marchesi Monte Napoleone remains faithful to its style and its impeccable quality, offering a wider range of products. Designed by architect Roberto Baciocchi, the new shop extends over an area of 120 square meters and the interiors reinterpret the atmosphere and charm of Via Santa Maria at Porta 11 / a.
Within a year, Pasticceria Marchesi opened a third shop in the heart of Milan, within the emblematic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a symbol of the city. At the new space, located on the mezzanine floor of the building that houses the Man collection. You can access via stairs or elevators from both Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the Prada store. The new Marchesi space is spread over an area of 250 square meters and reinterprets the atmosphere and fascination of the historic shop of Via Santa Maria alla Porta. Located in a charming setting marked by numerous arch windows, overlooking the beautiful frescoes and precious floors to the mosaic of the Gallery.
On November 4, 2016, Giorgio Vasari’s restored the masterpiece in Santa Croce, fifty years after the Flood. Thanks to the commitment of Opificio delle Pietre Dure and the contribution of Prada, Getty Foundation, and Civil Protection. The ceremony takes place in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella and Patrizio Bertelli, Managing Director of the Group, Irene Sanesi, President of the Opera of Santa Croce, Marco Ciatti, Director of the Dure Stone Store, and Antoine Wilmering, Getty Foundation Senior Program Officer.
Giorgio Vasari’s Last Supper, which water and mud swept through this museum’s hall on November 4, 1966, has been preserved for decades in a Superintendency depot along with many other flooded works. After fifty years, thanks to new technologies, the restoration and the painting have been relocated to the Cenacolo. Thanks to the new technology, the Structure of Pietre Dure and the support of Prada, Getty Foundation and Civil Protection to make this possible. The Return of the Last Supper to Santa Croce is a virtuous example of patronage that has seen together in more than ten years. Thanks to Prada, who made it possible to intervene on the painting, the Getty Foundation for wooden support, and Civil Protection who allowed studies and surveys.
Past Forward is a multi-platform film project born in 2016 by the collaboration between Miuccia and US director and screenwriter, David O. Russell. Acclaimed for films such as American Hustle, The Fighter, and The Positive Side. Russell has imagined Past Forward as a dreamy, surreal, and silent landscape with an eclectic cast that re-plays scenes in variable combinations. The result is an unreliable story, a parallax view in which scenes, characters, costumes, genres, and even multiple endings, repeat and turn away. Rejecting the logic of conventional fiction. Russell represents his characters as elements of a complex collage, leaving the spectator the task of decoding what experience, memory, dream, and understanding overlap and differences between them.
In December 2016, the Foundation opens Osservatorio, a new exhibition space dedicated to photography and visual languages. Located at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. Observatory is a place of exploration and investigation of the trends and expressions of contemporary photography. The constant evolution of the medium and its connections with other creative disciplines and realities. In a historical moment, in which photography is an integral part of the global digital communication flow, the Foundation, through Osservatorio’s activities, questions the cultural and social implications of current photographic production and its reception. It extends the repertoire of modes and tools with which the Foundation interprets and relies on the present.
Located on the fifth and sixth floor of one of the central buildings, the Osservatorio is above the octagonal, at the level of the glass and iron dome covering the Gallery created by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1867. The environments, rebuilt in After World War II following the bombings that struck the center of Milan in 1943, they underwent a restoration that made available an 800 m2 exhibition space developed on two levels.
In March 2017, the Group presented to Milan “Shaping to Creative Future”, a conference organized in collaboration with the Yale School of Management and the Politecnico of Milan School of Management. The event explored new possible connections between sustainability and innovation. This led to a confrontation between entrepreneurship, culture, and the international academic world. During the first day, at the Prada Foundation, teachers from both universities met with representatives of companies and associations to work out a critical perspective that was the focus of discussion on the next day. The following day, at Prada’s headquarters, entrepreneurial personalities, and spokespersons of international organizations met at a plenary conference, enriching the debate with inspirational insights and personal experiences.
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