Prada: Understated Elegance
Famed for its highly-coveted luxury goods and immortalized in pop culture, it's no surprise that Prada has earned a Readers' Choice Award nomination for Best Clothing Designer. The Italian designer is a staple of the luxury lifestyle around the world.
Founded in 1913 by Mario Prada, the company started out as a leathergoods shop in Milan, specializing in handbags and trunks imported from England. Mario's daughter-in-law took over the company upon his death some 40 years later; her daughter, Miuccia Prada, is creative director of the company today.
Under Miuccia's direction, Prada continued to gain popularity in the 1980s, especially among fast-rising female executives in search of a clean, stylish look. Keeping with this trend, Miuccia referred to these outfits as "uniforms." Eschewing flamboyance in favor of understated elegance, Prada gained renown for pioneering the restrained luxury aesthetic still preferred by many high-end consumers.
Today, Prada remains one of the most desirable names in fashion. Its fame has spread to pop culture (the film The Devil Wears Prada) and even to experimental art -- in 2005, Scandinavian artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset built a replica Prada boutique on a lonely patch of sand in the middle of the West Texas desert. Entitled "Prada Marfa," it's probably the only Prada store where customers don't have to worry about crowds.
Cast your vote for the Readers' Choice Awards at http://www.luxist.com/awards-vote/accessories-awards.