Miuccia Prada is widely known for her eponymous brand and pioneering designs. Lesser known are her pursuits as one of the world's greatest art collectors and supporters of contemporary artists.
"Fashion is my job and I do it with passion but it is also the financial means that allows me to dedicate time and energy to what is the most important to me: Art." - Miuccia Prada.
Miuccia began her career studying political science in Milan. Her cultural education came from literature and film. She developed her interest in fine art through friends that encouraged her to use the empty industrial spaces her company owned for exhibitions. It was from here that Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, the chief executive of Prada, established the Fondazione Prada in 1993, after which they began to buy art and set up their first gallery in Venice.
Fondazione Prada - VenicePrada refers to it as her solution to the existential crisis of being a politically minded person who owns a fashion company.
"We started to study, to meet artists, and it was a full immersion…Then I realised that all the arts are the same, whether it's a movie or literature, the mind of the people is the same. Only the expression is different." she says, "it's so connected, the fashion, the art, the culture, the politics."
Fondazione Prada, now based in Venice and Milan is a must see in both cities with the likes of Lucio Fontana, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Karsten Holler, Francesco Vezzoli, Mariko Mori, Sam Taylor Wood, Anish Kapoor, Tom Sachs, Tom Friedman and Marc Quinn in their collections.
Fondazione Prada - Milan
"You know, you look and you study and you like it and you appreciate it and eventually you buy it. That's not very noble, the buying part, but I have to confess it. I grew up with the idea that art is for everybody and not a matter of private ownership, but sometimes you want to have it."
Fondazione Prada - Milan - "Tulips" by Jeff Koons
Prada typically does not invite artists to collaborate on their fashion campaigns to keep her art and fashion ventures separate. There is, however, one crossover between Prada's love of art and her career in the fashion we are swooning over – a monumental tube slide designed by artist Carsten Höller, which leads from her Milan office to the courtyard below.
Carsten Höller - Slide
"It's difficult to summarise a life interest in a few words, but, of course, art has been part of the search and truth in my life."