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WWD: Can you tell us about any artists, books or films you find interesting now?
M.P.: These are all things I never talk about. These are things that I consider personal and I never name names.
WWD: You have so many connections to the art world.
M.P.: Many yes. It has become my second job. We created [Fondazione Prada] in 2003. Probably in June we will do a very important thing in Venice. These things occupy half of my time.
WWD: Is there an artist in particular that you like?
M.P.: I never say. I don’t say because it creates big problems for me. [Laughs]
WWD: Do you go to galleries and look at the contemporary art scene here in China? Is that one of the things you do here?
M.P.: There are galleries that are, by now, the same as in the rest of the world. There isn’t really anything that has struck me.
WWD: How do you see this confluence of the worlds of art and fashion? Do you think it will continue?
M.P.: Now it has become a very popular union [of the two worlds].…I remember the controversy regarding [the 1996 “Biennale di Firenze: Il Tempo e la Moda” with Germano Celant and Ingrid Sischy] which scandalized a lot of people.…Definitely the fact that the worlds are coming together is something very positive, but then everything becomes a cliché, a turn of phrase and I hate those things.
I have always tried to keep [art and fashion] so separate, even to the point of possibly exaggerating and making a mistake, but I don’t care. Everyone does it their own way. There were very important artists that wanted to make bags with me and I told them no. Sometimes I think I’m making a mistake because maybe the coming together of these two worlds is the future. Everybody wants to do everything. I’m not convinced that it’s right and creates something really valid.… Fundamentally I’ll continue to keep them more or less separate.
WWD: Just a few days ago you presented your men’s collection. What is your view of men’s fashion at the moment?
M.P.: Men’s fashion is a product that is evolving a lot. I think that men are beginning to open up a lot more, especially the younger generations. They are not as formal.…I’m pushing in this area. I try to push in my own way without being excessive…because I really think things are opening up so I’m trying to do it in the most subtle way possible.
WWD: Do you find it more difficult to find inspiration for men’s rather than women’s?
M.P.: For me, the inspiration for men’s is women’s. It’s what I’m thinking for the women…I try to understand everything that is possible, subtly adding or reinterpreting it for men.
WWD: Men’s seems like it’s particularly important for the emerging markets. Do you agree?
M.P.: They say that emerging markets are a bit more open, but there are also open people in the Western markets so I don’t make these big distinctions between markets.…I think it’s more a matter of generations. Today’s younger generation in Europe is also open.
WWD: Do your sons want to go into the family business?
M.P.: I don’t want to talk about my sons. They have prohibited me from doing so.
WWD: What other designers do you admire or wear?
M.P.: The ones who are dead or don’t sell. [Laughs] I won’t say. I like the good ones. I’m not envious of the good ones. I like the good ones.