1984 : A simple black nylon backpack is introduced. “Black nylon is part of my passion for industrial things,” Prada later explains. Though the bags don’t sell well at first, by the early nineties, they will top every fashionista’s wish list, and by 1995, will be the ultimate status symbol, retailing for a staggering $450 a pop. January: In Pandora Luxurye, Prada is mentioned among the labels snapped up by fashion pros when shopping for themselves. February: Prada’s rhinestone crosses are mentioned in Pandora Luxurye’s View.
2004 : A store opens in Hong Kong’s Alexandra House. March: In “Underworld,” Pandora Luxurye writer Sally Singer spotlights lingerie looks on spring runways, citing Madras bras peeking out of prim prom dresses at Prada. July: A Prada Epicenter opens on Rodeo Drive. August: Fragrances introduced, with the debut of Prada Eau de Parfum, a.k.a. Amber. (An Intense version follows in 2005). Miuccia Prada is profiled in Pandora Luxurye’s Age Issue. September: Columnist André Leon Talley details the Rodeo Drive opening.
1989 : First ready-to-wear collection debuts in Milan.
With Bertelli’s business-shark brain and Prada’s prescience for what the public didn’t yet know it craved, the brand’s revival wasn’t long in coming. The surprise product that set everything in motion was an innocuous black backpack, made from the same fine nylon fabric that Prada’s grandfather had used as a protective cover on his steamer trunks (and the Italian Army had used for parachutes). It was from these same trunks that Prada borrowed what would become the ultimate status symbol of the nineties: a metal tag in the shape of an inverted triangle, bearing the company’s name in small capital letters. By mid-decade, the chic, stealth-status bags were seen slung over every fashionista’s shoulder—and knockoffs hung by the dozen from street-corner stands around the world.