The Prada Woman vs. The Miu Miu Girl


April 26, 2022 / Amber Weir


An in-depth look into the battle of the sisters



Miu Miu was created as a fun project for Miuccia Prada — Prada's current head designer/ co-CEO. Miu Miu was initially known as “Prada’s little sister” because it was for younger buyers and was slightly cheaper than Prada. But over time, Miu Miu reached its own iconic status, to the point that it is no longer associated with Prada.

It might seem bizarre that Miuccia Prada would create a whole new brand when she was running Prada: a fashion powerhouse. To see how Miu Miu emerged, you have to go back to how Prada started.

Miuccia Prada was born into a fashion dynasty. Her grandfather Mario Prada founded the Italian fashion label, and she inherited Prada in 1978. At this time, the brand was often commissioned by the Italian royal family to design leather goods, trucks, and accessories. Despite its aristocratic consumer base, Prada was still a relatively small family business.

Miuccia met — and later married — Patrizio Bertelli,  who was in the Italian leather goods industry. Together, Miuccia and Patrizio cultivated the Prada brand and transformed it into the global fashion house that we know today. Miuccia and Patrizio opened the 2nd Prada shop in the heart of the Millian shopping district in 1983, released the classic nylon Prada handbag in 1985, and launched the first Prada ready-to-wear collection in 1987. 

By the ‘90s, Prada was a recognized brand that catered to the modern woman, who was both elegant and classy.

In 1993, Miuccia created Miu Miu — which was her nickname. Miuccia loved designing for Prada but felt constrained by the timeless look of a traditional fashion house. So, Miu Miu became her avenue to create designs that were more fun, intended to capture that moment in time. The battle of the sisters began: Miu Miu was fun and Prada was classic.

Miu Miu quickly rose in the fashion world because fashion viewers were constantly shocked by the collections. Miu Miu was new and refreshing: always capturing the zeitgeist or moment of that time. (It also helped that Miuccia had some superstar friends in the industry: Kate Moss walked in Miu Miu’s first runway show and Drew Barrymore starred  in their first campaign.)

The idea of the Miu Miu girl began to rise. She was interesting, complex, and fascinating — representing a new form of femininity that was fun and contradictory.

But to truly understand the Miu Miu girl, you have to understand the Prada woman.


THE PRADA WOMAN.


The Prada woman is sophisticated, classy, and wise. She understands the staples needed in her wardrobe to reflect the ultimate height of elegance: a black blazer, a little black dress, sleek loafers, and kitten heels. Neutral colors are her favorite, and bright colors are worn sparingly — only for a hint of interest and flare.

She loves culture and history because it informs her of the present: especially through film. Italian neorealism is her favorite genre because it is so raw and real. Her favorite movies to rewatch are Roberto Rossellini’s “Rome, Open City” and Victorio De Sica’s “Umberto D.”  because it reminds her how much her worldview has changed over the years.

A classic Spaghetti Frutti di Mare — fruit of the sea — is her favorite dish. Never with parmesan cheese (that would be a sin since seafood is so delicate). A class of Veuve Clicquot —  pink label — champagne is always a must to complement the dish.


THE MIU MIU GIRL.


The Miu Miu girl is young, experimental, and of course, naive! She is not afraid of love, and she falls in love often and recklessly — she knows her heart will heal.

Every Friday, she can be found on the dance floor, right underneath the disco ball, allowing herself to move and grove freely. She wears contrasting colors like pink mixed with green or a belt as a skirt. If it’s in now, she’s into it. Neutral colors are too minimalist, too refined, and too 2000s.

The Miu Miu girl loves trying new things and can’t be bound to the same food, drink, or film. Because she knows there is so much to see, and in this one life, she wants to experience everything that she can.

She is carefree, rebellious, and filled with the desire to find beauty everywhere and in everything. That’s why she loves the sun; the rays of light offer infinite opportunities each day.


To summarize in words from Miuccia Prada: “Prada is very sophisticated and considered; Miu Miu is much more naïve. The solution, when I am working on Miu Miu, has to come immediately, instinctively, spontaneously with whatever is available at the moment. If I think three times, I stop.”

At the end of the day, the difference between the brands isn’t necessarily about age, but about individuals' spirit and how they want to be perceived. The Miu Miu girl remains relevant because she is trendy in that season, and the Prada woman has longevity accompanied by a classic wardrobe. The battle of the sisters is old news. Prada’s “little sister” has grown up, and they can exist together without competition. ■


by: Amber Weir

graphics by: Ava Darvish

photos courtesy of: VOGUE & Miu Miu

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