En Vogue

Italy’s most revered fashion houses celebrated

Brenda Dionisi
April 30, 2008

Miuccia's Newest Challenge


Miuccia Prada had just earned a PhD in political science when she decided to take the reins of her family's luxury leather goods business in 1978. Since then she has affirmed herself as the one of the world's most celebrated trendsetters of exclusive fashion and luxury goods. You are not chic if you are not wearing Prada.

Not only has she single-handedly changed the face of contemporary fashion, but the Milan-based designer is now ready to make her art world debut. Alongside her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, she recently announced the opening of a permanent contemporary art museum located in Milan's former distillery district, situated on Largo Isarco, a few minutes from Piazzale Lodi in the southern part of the city. A longtime art collector, Miuccia and her husband first launched the Fondazione Prada in 1993 with the principle aim of ‘allowing artists, whether famous or not, to create art that is too ambitious and apparently impossible due to excessive costs or extravagance or other difficulties', she recently told La Repubblica.


According to Signora Prada, as she is affectionately called by her employees, the Fondazione Prada has hundreds of artworks sitting crates in anticipation of the museum's opening, estimated to occur three years from now. The 17,500-square metre structure, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaus, will feature a shop and café, a large exhibition space for art installations, museum offices, Prada archives, a tower, and an underground auditorium for cinema, theatre performances and conferences.


Rather than calling it a museum, which ‘is an old, somewhat funerary word', the world-renowned designer says she is now ready to let her two most delectable pleasures, art and fashion, converge: ‘For years I felt guilty dedicating myself to such a frivolous world like fashion, but I later understood that clothing has a meaning that goes beyond trademarks. In the end, you can't be a true entrepreneur if you are not creative...In art, as in fashion, what interests me the most is breaking the rules'. It is for this reason that Signora Prada has become the first-ever Italian designer to make the cover of the New York Times magazine, which deeming her ‘one of the people who has redrawn the art world'.



Eighty Years Of Ferragamo


When, in 1960, Wanda Ferragamo suddenly became a widow at 38, all six of her children immediately stepped up to help her build on the dream that her husband, Salvatore, started.


Everyone in casa Ferragamo has worked in unison to continue to develop the unparalleled success of the shoe business, which now features a wide range of accessories, including foulards, watches, perfume and men's and woman's collections. Though Wanda's three sons, Ferruccio, Leonardo and Massimo, may be the most well known of her children, it is virtually impossible to overlook the strong female presence in the historic Florentine fashion house, from Wanda, who still leads the business at 86 years old, to her daughter Giovanna Gentile Ferragamo, often referred to as the true ‘guardian of the Ferragamo style', who heads the holding group responsible for the launch of the maison's first woman's clothing line.


Since Salvatore Ferragamo passed away, every family member has helped to construct the international fashion empire, which today counts a total of 500 stores worldwide. With 25 stores located in China (a country that represents 30 percent of sales), what better place to celebrate the company's 80th anniversary than in Shanghai.


Against the spectacular backdrop of the Shanghai cityscape, the anniversary celebration took place in the Port Cruise Terminal. Opening with a striking ballet performance by Roberto Bolle and Canadian sensation Greta Hodgkinson along the 144-metre runway, celebrations followed with a fashion show and all-night party. Along side New York dj Coleman, who was flown in especially for the event, the celebrities in attendance included Jennifer Jason Lee, Jessica Tan, Jennifer Goodwin and Christina Ricci.

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