BRIEF HISTORY OF PRADA
Prada, which was founded in 1913 by Mario Prada and his brother Martino who opened their first store, a leather goods shop, in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy. He sold high-quality trunks, bags, and travel accessories.
In 1919, Prada was awarded the title of Official Supplier of the Italian Royal House which made the brand a benchmark for Italian aristocracy and upper-middle class. It allowed them to display the House of Savoy coat of arms and knotted rope design on its logo. The Prada triangle logo has been with the brand ever since.
Mario Prada didn’t think women belonged in the workforce. When he tried to pass the business on to his son, he declined, so then he passed it on to his daughter, Luisa Prada who ran the business for over twenty years and then she passed it on to her daughter, Miuccia.
The Prada business took a turn for the better in 1977 when Miuccia met a 24-year-old Italian leather goods businessman named Patrizio Bertelli who convinced Miuccia to focus on producing luxury luggage pieces. Bertelli was brought on board and together with Miuccia, they created a whole new era of Prada.
They launched a luxury footwear line in 1979, along with totes and backpacks, and in the early 80s began opening shops. Focusing on a new aesthetic layout which was defined by a shade of light green, known as “Prada green”, the first green store opened in Milan, and then shops in London, Madrid, New York, Paris and Tokyo followed.
In 1988, Prada presented its first womenswear collection in Milan, and Prada’s first men’s ready-to-wear and footwear collections were launched in 1993. Miuccia Prada’s creative spirit then led her to create a brand-new line, Miu Miu, which is a glamorous expression of sophistication, and independent and unconventional femininity. In 2003, Prada and Miu Miu launched their first sunglasses and optical frames collection.
HOW TO AUTHENTICATE PRADA BAGS
Prada has been creating iconic products since it was first established in 1913 and this storied Italian fashion house has had some incredible hits like the Prada Galleria Bag, the Re-Nylon Collection and the Re-Issue Collection. And with a sudden rise in the luxury brands ranking, Prada is back again in the spotlight for their highly coveted handbags, shoes, and sunglasses, and this surge in demand can also lead a rise in counterfeiters.
Prada’s triangular logo — which displays the House of Savoy coat of arms and knotted rope design— is one of the world’s most instantly recognizable and distinctive designs. Each logo plaque should always say “Prada, Milano, Dal 13” and it must be readable. The plaque should be applied evenly to the bag’s material, and the color of the plaque should match the color of the bag. For bags that don’t include the triangular logo, you’ll find the rectangular logo plaque that says “Prada Milano” and on both of these logos you need to pay attention the way they’re attached. Look at the stitching and the font of the logo, and particularly the “R” in Prada as it should have a little notch at the bottom of it (see picture for an example) and if it doesn’t, you’re dealing with a fake. Also, if you find double stitching anywhere on the logo, that is also a telltale sign.
PRADA’S INTERIOR PLAQUE
In addition to the logo, you also need to pay close attention to the ceramic or leather (if it’s plastic or fabric, it’s a bad sign) plaque inside the bag. Older styles say “Prada Milano Made in Italy” spread out amongst three lines, whereas on more recent bags it’s spread out on two lines. Also make sure the color of the inner plaque also matches the bag’s color.
Another telltale sign is the stitching on a Prada bag. If it’s crooked, uneven or irregular, you may have a fake on your hands. A real Prada handbag’s stitching is consistent and even, without loose threads, and the color of the stitching should match the rest of the bag. If you find glue on the stitches, it’s a red flag.
Prada’s lining is either made of leather or embossed jacquard fabric which shows lines and a rope motif, and also features the word Prada which is printed upside down on every other line. Take note of the letter A in the Prada logo as it should be wide and horizontal. The lining color should match or compliment the color of the bag. For bags made with leather nappa leather lining, it should be smooth to the touch.
Prada has created some of the world’s most popular and instantly recognizable designer items thanks to its leathers, fabrics and logo hardware. And while some Prada bags are made of nylon, the majority of their bags are made of high-quality calfskin which should be easy to recognize by the touch and the scent. Whether you’re dealing with the Saffiano leather, the Vitello Lux, or the pleated Nappa Gaufré, the leather should look and feel rich and have a naturally musky, leathery smell. If the bag feels like plastic, is too stiff or too flimsy, and has a chemical-like smell, you should question the authenticity.
As with other luxury brands, the hardware can tell you a lot about the authenticity of the bag. All the hardware on authentic Prada bags is made of the highest quality materials, and therefore should be solid and heavy since it’s made of materials like gold-plated brass or stainless steel. The hardware should be placed evenly and engraved with Prada’s logos (bold, capital letters) and fonts. The zipper should also be straight, open and close with ease, and made by brands like Lampo, YKK, Riri, Opti, and Ipi.
PRADA’S AUTHENTICITY CARD & SERIAL NUMBER
A Prada bag should come with care booklets and a sealed Prada authenticity card which contains the bag’s serial number and style information. Perform a Google Search or consult a Prada Sales Associate to make sure the number and style correspond with the bag.
To locate the serial number, look for a small white square tag inside the bag with a number. This represents the factory number of the bag, but just because the bag has this tiny label, doesn’t mean it’s an original.
Also compare the information to what was found on the authenticity card. The authenticity card is a white plastic card with the Prada logo and says “Authenticity certificate card” in both English and Italian. There are fields on the back that should be filled out by the Prada Sales Associate when the item is purchased.
This card has a white sticker on the back with information on the item and usually includes the product name, the article code (product style), the color, the group name (materials used), and the product number, which will always begin with the article code. Sometimes the MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price) will be on the bottom right-hand corner.
Content and images for this blog post have been referenced from LePrix.