Power of the Pradasphere

Miuccia's Harrods takeover

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By Rebecca Lowthorpe Follow @Rebecca_ELLE

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The Pradasphere, an exhibition of Prada’s archives, can be found on the fourth flour of Harrods, sandwiched between children’s designer apparel and the Georgian restaurant, the latter, thanks to Miuccia, now resembling the legendary Milanese Marchesi café. It’s important to know Pradasphere’s exact location, after all Harrods comprises 4.5 acres of floor space.

In any case, this is well worth the trip; more of an adventure really, not just into the heart of the Harrods store, but into the mind and soul of Miuccia Prada. It is quite extraordinary that this famously enigmatic designer has allowed herself to be so explicitly curated. In fact, it is possibly the first time that such a thing has happened.

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In the exhibition room, for example, it is fascinating to see previous collections archived in themes, or as the curator Michael Rock put it, ‘Miuccia’s recurring obsessions’. They are, for the record: Femasculinity, Continentalism, Modernity, Figuration, Animality, Excessivity and Construction. Each housed in a towering glass case like those of an elegant shop front; they come with a helpful definition of what each means to Prada, such as: ‘To be modern is to boldly exist outside of any particular moment while acknowledging the impossibility of such a feat.’

Rock, the creative director of 2x4, a New York based design company, who was invited by Prada to curate the project, put it eloquently when he compared Miuccia Prada to Alfred Hitchcock, as making clothes that perform on two levels – both intellectually story-telling and straightforwardly desirable; a pleasure to look at.

At its most basic level, this exhibition is simply full of wondrous and lustrous clothes to admire and crave. Oh look there’s the Prada lip print! Have you seen the hybrid shoe made from seven iconic past Prada shoes? Remember those Prada robot accessories? All this serves as a reminder of the power wielded by Prada in the leather goods market, and that she is no ordinary designer but ultimately a retailer helming a multi-billion-euro brand.

The month-long celebration also includes 40 window displays, a pop-up store (handily located on the ground floor), the aforementioned Marchesi Café and an exclusive capsule collection of clothes, bags, shoes and accessories inspired by Prada’s most memorable collections.

Fashion fans, this is a must see.

Pradasphere at Harrods will be open from 2-29 May 2014. For more information go to harrods.com

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