Purple Magazine
— Purple 76 Index issue 29

Prada miuccia

back to freedom 

portrait and interview by OLIVIER ZAHM

OLIVIER ZAHM — What do you do to stay relevant to what’s going on in fashion? I mean, it’s been more than, what, 30 years?

MIUCCIA PRADA — More or less. [Laughs]

OLIVIER ZAHM — The cycles of fashion are getting shorter and shorter. Designers show up, and after three to five years, they disappear. Do you have a secret?

MIUCCIA PRADA — First of all, I want to react to what you said earlier about how magazines are doing these days. It’s true: the editing is fundamental. I think that magazines are important because you have a selection of thoughts, of different people, and you can read them. Sometimes I say that even in politics, I would need a master — a teacher — somebody who can explain reality. And that’s how I feel. I was educated in many areas. I was Catholic and, later, communist. I studied everything — I miss it now. I was researching philosophy, politicians, writers, who were trying to explain to you what was happening. I was
told, “That’s an old-fashioned way of thinking.”

OLIVIER ZAHM — How do you navigate the world today and its variety?

MIUCCIA PRADA — It’s difficult. Even with learning, of course, you can’t learn everything about every country. It’s even difficult for intellectuals because before, they had one community, which was European, with the same group of people, white, Western people learning about their own world. And now, you have to face so many other countries, so many other religions, so many other cultures. First of all, how can a single person know everything about everything? It’s impossible!

OLIVIER ZAHM — You need a clear perspective to cut through all this information.

MIUCCIA PRADA — We need more and more writers and editors, whom you trust. They help you understand. This is what we need from magazines, too. You need editing, you need commentary, you need explanation, you need somebody partially thinking for you!

OLIVIER ZAHM — Because you always approach fashion, and your collections, as something that is part of the world. It’s not just an aesthetic point of view.

MIUCCIA PRADA — Yes. Absolutely not. That’s probably why I don’t feel the heaviness of the job. My job was never “only clothes.” Clothes are a representation of my thoughts, of my feelings.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Is it a more conceptual approach to fashion design?

MIUCCIA PRADA — No, It’s because I am alive, because I live life, and I see, I study, I learn. It comes naturally, so far. So, I think it’s not a question of having a secret, but my approach to my work stays the same. It’s not just about clothes. At the end, well, yes, it is.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Do you still love fashion as you used to?

MIUCCIA PRADA — Absolutely, because fashion is interesting. And it’s part of a bigger picture. So, it doesn’t feel boring to me.

OLIVIER ZAHM — In a way, your collections and your clothes, and your design, are a — might we call them an objectification?

MIUCCIA PRADA — Yes.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Of your own mental process? Your mental evolution.

MIUCCIA PRADA — Yes, absolutely. In addition, I have to do so many shows! More and more!

OLIVIER ZAHM — [Laughs] Like what, six?

MIUCCIA PRADA — So I changed point of view. I said: “Okay, these are not shows. these are episodes … episodes from a moment of thinking.” For example, this show was about — did I tell you before? About the girls?

OLIVIER ZAHM — No. You didn’t.

MIUCCIA PRADA — Ah, okay. Really, what was the most important thing for me, for the first time, was really looking at girls, looking at people, looking at their different beauties. I enjoyed looking at different beauties, and then I realized that we had more than 70% of the girls who weren’t white. I was attracted to this diversity. And I really started looking at how things looked different on one girl or another, and I was really trying to look at them as people, not as models. And I thought it was new for me, but also very important because somehow, it’s a way of really embracing diversity. To really look at the different beauty of each person.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You seem to be very inspired and free right now. 

MIUCCIA PRADA — This year, I felt a sense of liberation. I wanted to go back to my freedom and get away from the heaviness of luxury, of the brand, and somehow…

OLIVIER ZAHM — And be more direct in your approach to design.

MIUCCIA PRADA — Yes, and more naïve, direct. Of course, somehow the spirit of the ’90s was there.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Somehow, it’s back — this spirit of freedom from 1992 or ’93.

MIUCCIA PRADA — Yes. But I remember that I did shows that would be unthinkable today!

OLIVIER ZAHM — [Laughs]

MIUCCIA PRADA — I remember the first show. Back then, they hated it. Probably today they would think it the height of avant-garde! The trashy shows of Miu Miu, with transparent nylon — today? Impossible! There was a lot of freedom. After that, there was again this heaviness of luxury.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Yes, of a global brand.

MIUCCIA PRADA — [Sighs] Yes. And I hate these words — luxury, branding.

OLIVIER ZAHM — So, you’re back to the beginning, in a way.

MIUCCIA PRADA — Yes. To that sense of freedom.

OLIVIER ZAHM — I can feel it in your recent shows. [Laughs]

MIUCCIA PRADA — I’m really fed up. I don’t listen to anybody. [Laughs]

OLIVIER ZAHM — You know, when I posted the picture of your show on Purple Instagram, I captioned it “new lightness.” I could feel this lightness.

MIUCCIA PRADA — [Sighs] Like breathing.

OLIVIER ZAHM — So what would be your definition of luxury?

MIUCCIA PRADA — I never wanted to answer the question. I heard the most horrible and stupid things about it! So, I always refused to give a definition. And anyway, “luxury” is not trendy anymore. Now, there is the word “millennial.” Everybody talks about millennials.

OLIVIER ZAHM — What does this mean, exactly? “Fashion for millennials?” 

MIUCCIA PRADA — Exactly. It reduces youth to a commercial category. So, the term “millennials” is used to mean “people to sell something to.” Not people with different ideas. It treats them as though they are just one commercial identity, but this generation is so much more complex! So this definition of “millennials” as a category is offensive to young people, I think.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Are you saying you don’t have a working process and just follow your intuition? You follow the evolution of your mind.

MIUCCIA PRADA — Yes, absolutely.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You are constantly trying to understand what’s going on around you and in the world.

MIUCCIA PRADA — Yes.

OLIVIER ZAHM — But isn’t it more and more difficult to understand where we are going? Does contemporary art influence you or help you? 

MIUCCIA PRADA — Yes, yes. It’s more of a cultural spectrum. Culture sometimes looks like an old-fashioned word, but it’s fundamental.

END

[Table of contents]

Purple 76 Index issue 29

Table of contents

Purple Index 76

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