March 03 2011
Lucia van der Post
Miuccia Prada has a way of always being a bit ahead of the pack, and with her new “Made in” project I think she’s onto something. Where things are made has always been something of a contentious issue. Historically, they tended to boast if Britain, France or Italy was where their bags or shoes were made, but they preferred their customers not to know that their bits of leather, cotton or crystals were stitched together in factories in Taiwan, Indonesia or India.
But now we see a new trend – the provenance of wares is becoming a source of pride, something to draw to customers’ attention and make a lot of fuss about. Which brings me back to Prada, and the launch of the first of its “Made in” lines, which, as it happens, comes from India.
It’s an idea that is in the proper tradition of the company. Miuccia Prada’s grandfather, the legendary Mario Prada, travelled the globe to harness the best skills and materials: leatherworkers from Alsace and Austria, crystal from Bohemia, silver and silversmiths from England, ivory, tortoiseshell, ebony and precious stones from around the world. He was the ultimate gentleman-connoisseur and it is in this spirit of connoisseurship that the project has been developed.
Prada Made in India has a small range of products – shoes, bags and dresses. The shoes and the bags are all made of woven leather and the flat ballerina-style pumps (first picture) sell for £270-£290 a time, while the leather tango shoes, which were a wow on the spring/summer catwalks, are £495-£540 a time. There are three woven-leather bags, all gloriously Indian in their brilliant colourings. The pochette is £480, the messenger bag (second picture) is £795 and the tote (second picture) is £1,520. The two styles of dress, which come in several colourways, are made of finest white cotton and showcase the ancient art of chikan embroidery in red, blue, green or white; it sells for £815.
Also available now is Prada Made in Peru, a collection of alpaca-wool knitwear from the most traditional workshops of Peru (third picture, alpaca sweater, £450). Coming up next will be Prada Made in Scotland, a collection of tartan wool kilts all using traditional woven materials and manufacturing techniques. Then there will be a collection of jeans made by Dova, a leading Japanese manufacturer of jeans, which will be the Prada Made in Japan collection. The trousers will come in four sorts of denim and in seven different washes. The collections will be filtered into Prada stores through the year.