Prada has long forged its own path, balancing intellectual minimalism with an avant-garde femininity. Unlike some other high fashion brands, Prada is not known for its use of logomania. Instead, Prada’s maximalism often comes in the form of unique textures, silhouettes, or eye-catching prints. But Prada’s logo does make a statement – Lyst reported that Prada’s was the most searched logo on their platform in 2021. Today we look at the Prada logo, from its origins, how it evolved, to how it is used in the modern day.
The Early Prada Logo
The first Prada store was opened by Mario Prada in 1913. Based in Milan, Prada specialized in luxury travel goods. In 1919, Prada received the title “Official Supplier of the Italian Royal House.” This honor allowed Prada to use elements of the House of Savoy coat of arms in their logo. The early Prada logo consisted of a rope in the shape of an oval, tied with four nautical knots, with a coat of arms on top. This rope encircled “Prada” in a bold font with “Milano” in smaller text underneath and “DAL 1913” (translating to “from 1913”) printed on a banner. Incorporating the House of Savoy coat of arms into their logo legitimized the young brand, as it signaled to their wealthy clientele that their products were of the highest quality.
Miuccia Prada and the Minimalist Logo
In the mid-1970s Miuccia Prada, granddaughter of the brand’s founder, became the head of the company. Miuccia was at first reluctant to take over the family business. A member of the Communist Party with a doctorate in political science, Miuccia initially worried that working in fashion would undermine her political beliefs and cause people to take her less seriously. In a 1994 New Yorker piece, Miuccia describes her thought process transitioning from political activism to luxury fashion, stating “I was embarrassed, since most fashion had been such a nightmare for women. And I never actually decided to become a designer. Eventually, I found that I was one.”
In 1984 Miuccia Prada introduced her breakout piece, the nylon backpack. Minimalist and utilitarian, the backpack didn’t immediately signal high-end fashion. Unlike other popular luxury bags of the 1980s, the nylon backpack wasn’t plastered with logos or branding. Instead, Miuccia added a simple metal logo tag, inspired by the emblem on early Prada steamer trunks. This triangle shaped metal tag showcased a simplified version of the original logo that removed many of the connections to royalty.
Since the 1980s the triangle logo emblem has adorned many of Prada’s bags. Understated and chic, this logo epitomizes the allure of Prada. When discussing her feelings around designing fashion, Miuccia stated, “The way to express this joy or sense of beauty has to be subtle. You have to keep it personal–you have to wear this richness in a manner that is private.” The triangle Prada logo was in its own way private, signifying luxury while drawing minimal attention to itself.
The Prada Logo in the 2020s
In recent years Prada has worked to highlight its branding – as a 2020 Vogue Business article boldly states, “The future of Prada is more logos.” The Spring/Summer 2021 Collection is the first that Miuccia Prada released with Raf Simons, her new co-creative director. In this collection the Prada triangle logo was front and center, appearing on shoes, clothing, and, of course, bags. While the branding is still primarily subtly applied (the Cleo bag, for instance, features the same triangle emblem as the classic nylon backpack), the logo itself is influencing the style of some pieces. The Symbole earrings and Triangle leather shoulder bag take the form of the iconic triangle logo emblem, and the Symbole Jacquard bags interpret the triangle plaque into a geometric design.
How will the Prada logo continue to evolve? In an era when many heritage brands are drawing inspiration from their archives, Prada’s updated use of their classic logo pays tribute to the past while looking to the future.
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