Miuccia Prada may be one of the most influential, beloved and respected fashion designers of our time–evidenced by the fact that she’s about to be honored with an exhibit at the Costume Institute at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. However, she wasn’t always so keen on the idea of working in fashion. In fact, there was a time when she “hated it.”
Newsweek‘s Robin Givhan interviewed Prada in advance of her Met exhibit, “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations,” which Prada was even reluctant about participating in at first. “On one side, I’m very happy. On the other, it’s very scary because it’s someone else’s interpretation,” she tells Givhan. “But I decided that of course I’m super happy.”
Her reluctance towards working in fashion may come as even more of a surprise…or maybe not as the designer has always been known for an often times contradictory or unconventional approach to designing clothes for women (which we love). Of joining her family’s business, which sold luxurious suitcases and leather goods, she tells Givhan:
I hated it. I was a feminist in the ’60s and can you imagine? The worst I could have done was to be in fashion. It was the most uncomfortable position … And I had problems for so many years; only recently I stopped.
So how has she gotten past her feminist hangups about being in fashion?
I realized that so many clever people respect fashion so much and through my job … I have an open door to any kind of field. It’s a way of investigating all the different universes: architecture, art, film.
I also realized people respect me because I’m good in my job.
It’s a tricky thing–negotiating being a feminist with working/being interested in fashion, an industry that is often faulted, justifiably, for making women feel bad about their bodies. So we’re always glad to hear that those two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive–and to have a feminist role model in Prada.