Memo Pad: Bertelli On The Record... Plus-Size Model Crystal Renn's Cover...

Miuccia Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, are profiled in the latest WSJ., out Friday.

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BERTELLI ON THE RECORD: There’s a reason most married couples avoid working with each other, especially when one manages the finances. However, designer Miuccia Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, have somehow made it work for several decades now, despite their often violent arguments and Bertelli’s friction with the rest of the Prada staff.

Bertelli is on the cover of the latest WSJ., out Friday, while the couple is profiled inside. “We work hard. It’s always an intense relationship, and it’s exhausting having to work with him. But I admire and respect him,” Prada says. “It’s a war in here every minute, and to be part of this company, you have to be trained.”

And the designer is well aware of her husband’s volcanic reputation. “I always tell Bertelli: You like this reputation, or you’d change it,” says Prada, who always refers to her husband by his last name. When he was overseeing the decor of a new Miu Miu store in Manhattan in 1997, he took issue with a mirror and smashed it.

“It made people look too fat,” he recalls. He famously broke the taillights of several cars parked in the wrong spaces of Prada’s parking lot. “I enjoyed that,” he says with a laugh.

In the piece, Bertelli is trying to convince his wife to embrace digital media and, more specifically, Twitter. When a mutual friend suggests she join the micro-blogging service, the designer bristles: “Well, what if we found out years from now that Twitter is crap. Maybe years from now, we’ll all have been mistaken,” Prada retorts.

“You don’t get it, do you?” Bertelli belts back. “Communications move fast and fast communication compromises quality. It’s inevitable, and you have to accept that.”

Bertelli also talks of a possible initial public offering, noting the stock market is the best option to give the company a real future. The article claims that his “extralarge ambitions have left the company in need of funds.” During the Nineties, the company spent more than a half-billion dollars to buy Jil Sander, Helmut Lang and others, leading to more than a billion dollars in debt by the end of the decade, on sales of around $1.5 billion at the time. “The rationale was that we had grown a lot for 10 years, and we wanted to diversify — but not by going into hotels or wines,” Bertelli says. “This may be considered a mistake in hindsight, but it was plausible at the time. In 1995, all of us were asking ourselves how we were going to grow. Later we realized that there wasn’t necessarily a need to expand into new labels because there were so many growth opportunities in new markets.”

He noted mistakes were made with Jil Sander and Helmut Lang, adding it’s 50 percent his fault and 50 percent theirs. “But now we are rid of these brands, and things are good,” he said. — Amy Wicks

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