Miuccia Prada sat down with CNN’s Talk Asia for her first television interview in three years. Sitting in the middle of the art exhibit on Prada skirts in the Prada Transformer installation in Seoul, Miuccia said she still plans to list Prada on the Italian stock exchange, but not until “the moment is right,” which would not be now, obviously. She said Prada has not been tremendously affected by the economy so far. Though America, Italy, and Japan are the worst markets right now, the rest of the world is okay. And though her designs seem to make little sense at times, Miuccia herself makes remarkable sense.
Okay, so what the hell was up with those crotch-skimming wader boots in the fall 2009 collection?
It was kind of fun. I also like the irony in my work. It’s very much about sometimes what I like, but sometimes also analyzing what’s trendy and why people like something. And [trying] to find an ironic way to look at it from outside. For instance, when I did the lace I ask why women always like lace? Things like pink roses, lace — women can’t give up. I don’t like things that are obvious. Just beauty by itself is too easy.
Fashion may be frivolous, but it’s still important.
If you compare with philosophy it is frivolous. But frivolity may be something good, something that is part of our lives. So I don’t dislike it. And what I like is the mix — that in your life you can have serious things, more frivolous ones. Fashion is about beauty and the search for beauty, I think it’s a fundamental thing. No one criticizes if you want to do beautiful homes. No one criticizes if you want to buy a beautiful chair. But so many intellectuals still criticize why you want to wear beautiful clothes, and it’s only our body, so it must be important in a way.
She didn’t care that her first collection wasn’t well received.
W said it was the Jetsons meets the Flinstones, and for me it was the biggest complement [sic]. For them it was an insult.
The acquisitions binge of the nineties — when Prada bought Helmut Lang and Jil Sander, among other labels — may have helped put Prada in debt today, but Miuccia is unconcerned.
We can still go to the stock market. We are reducing [the debt]. And of course someone criticized that moment, but at that moment everybody wanted to do acquisitions and it was part of our job. They were great designers that was why we bought them, but I think they were not prepared to sell and wanted to make money without doing anything for making money. I was putting all the money I gained — I was compromising my work — to sustain this other work. So now it’s over and I’m happy that we can concentrate on ourselves.
She went to mime school for six years.
In those years, the late sixties, the seventies, you wanted to do anything that was strange or different or eccentric. So that looked to me the most strange thing I could possibly do.
She never takes a full walk down the runway after her fashion shows.
I hate the cliché of fashion designers since the beginning. And so because I came from another background — and actually being a feminist at those times — not that I’ve changed so much — I didn’t want to do anything that fashion designers were doing. And the first thing I didn’t want to was that.
She stresses out before all her shows.
I’m silently stressed. I don’t scream. And also I have to sustain and support all the others. So I try to be in a really good mood.
She liked The Devil Wears Prada.
At the beginning I was very worried. I said I don’t want to know anything about it. And actually we did no collaboration with them because I didn’t know what would come out. But Meryl Streep was so good.