Did you know that Miuccia Prada holds a political science PhD? Or that she trained as a professional mime? These and other pursuits predating her fashion career may have been motivated by the fact that Prada had some pretty clear ideas about the field: she thought it was ‘dumb’.
‘To want to be a fashion designer was really the worst thing that could happen to me,’ the progenitor of ugly chic told The Guardian. ‘I thought it was dumb and conservative… But my education at home pulled the other way, giving me a taste for beautiful things, an instinct for fashion. I adored that.’
It was only after exploring other areas of interest (political science, miming and Communist party activism) that Prada joined the family leather goods business and built it into the dominant fashion force it is today.
She continues to cultivate her interest in non-fashion affairs and is regarded as something of an authority on contemporary art and architecture (ArtReview recently included Prada on its list of the 100 most important figures in contemporary art today.) She described her interest in these disciplines as a counterweight for what she still can’t help but view as the fleeting nature of fashion.
‘Fashion moves so fast,’ she told the paper. ‘I work on waves which break really quickly. You can catch them, or you miss them in no time at all. Architecture stretches out over many years, giving me a sense of the long term which I need to understand the world.’