Deborah Needleman is a big fan of the over-50 cover star. Since her first issue debuted in February, Needleman has put 80-year-old Lee Radziwill and 52-year-old Julianne Moore, on the cover of the magazine. (That controversial Julia Nobis cover is the exception). Now, that trend continues, with Miuccia Prada, who is 64, on the cover of T‘s latest issue.
Prada, despite being one of the most celebrated (and copied) designers, is also one of the most mysterious. She doesn’t tweet, doesn’t blog; she’s notoriously private and rarely gives interviews. Andrew O’Hagan, who penned the article, describes her as a “curious capitalist philosopher,” and a “conflicted feminist.” Which, needless to say, is an interesting disposition for a fashion designer.
“When I started, fashion was the worst place to be if you were a leftist feminist,” Prada said. “It was horrid. I had a prejudice, yes, I always had a problem with it. I suppose I felt guilty not to be doing something more important, more political. So in a way I am trying to use the company for these other activities.”
“I’m not interested in the silhouette and I’m not able to draw,” she continued. “It’s complicated. I am trying to work out which images of the female I want to analyze. I’m not really interested in clothes or style.”
She doesn’t pay knockoffs much mind either. “The job is to do something interesting with ideas, and if it is copied I couldn’t care less,” she said.
But Prada is interested in age. “It is much more of a drama for women, the business of aging,” she said. “No one wants to age, and I really think we should find a solution. Especially because we live so much longer. I think this question of aging will define the society of the future.”
Does this mean Prada might start using older models? Probably not. “Mine is not an artistic world, it is a commercial world,” she says when O’Hagan brings it up. “I cannot change the rules…Let’s say I’m not brave enough. I don’t have the courage.”
It’s hard to imagine Prada being scared of anything–especially when it comes to fashion design–but apparently the designer fears criticism just like the rest of us. “Yes [I was nervous of criticism]…In the ’90s, I was considered minimal and this was because I was hiding myself and my ideas…But now I give more of myself.”