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Miucca and H&M

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006
By Manolo the Shoeblogger

Manolo says, Ayyyyyy! This possibility has the Manolo filled with excitment!

If Stella could trump Karl in sales, imagine the impact of Miuccia Prada! Though unconfirmed, word came late Wednesday that H&M and Prada are said to have had initial discussions about the possibility of collaborating on a capsule collection of clothing and accessories. A Prada spokesperson had no comment on the matter.Miuccia our muse


Why Miuccia Prada—the woman who built a billion-dollar fashion empire from a line of woven nylon bags—would have any desire to partner with a retailer of chic mass clothing is anyone’s guess. But according to company sources, Prada is undergoing several internal corporate changes. The company recently announced that it would be moving its Miu Miu show from Milan to Paris, perhaps in a strategic attempt to distinguish it from the Prada collection, but also to afford itself a path should a possible partnership with H&M solidify.

If this it were to happen the Manolo would consider it not only terribly exciting, but also and more importantly, one of the milestones in the continuing democratization of the fashion.

Prada Sander Split

Sunday, February 26th, 2006
By Manolo the Shoeblogger

Manolo says, the Prada has finally sold the Jil Sander.

Prada Holding is parting with the German fashion house Jil Sander after an on-again-off-again relationship.

Change Capital Partners, a private- equity company headed by the former Marks & Spencer Group chairman, Luc Vandevelde, said Thursday that it was buying the clothier.


The sale ends several years of accumulated losses and personality clashes between Prada’s chief executive, Patrizio Bertelli, and Sander, who left her own company twice.

Prada is focusing on its own brands after being weighed down by losses at Jil Sander and Helmut Lang, which were bought in a 1999 acquisition spree.

“This is good news for Prada,” said Carlo Pambianco, founder of the Milan fashion consulting company Pambianco Strategie di Impresa. “This could be the start of a new growth phase for the company.”

This it is not the surprise to the Manolo, as there had long been the rumors and the stories about the clash of personalities. Patrizio he has the fiery temper, an is not the easy man to work with.


Sunday, December 4th, 2005
By Manolo the Shoeblogger

The Husband of our Muse the Miuccia

Manolo says, perhaps you are wondering who this stout, gray-headed Italian man is. He is Patrizio Bertelli, the president and CEO of the Prada, and, more importantly, the husband of our muse, the Miuccia.

He is also the man once described as “the most cunning man in fashion.”

Prada Denim

Friday, July 1st, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, look the Prada it is starting it’s own line of the denim.

The cuts are traditional (no Dolce & Gabbana-style 3-inch rises here), and the seven different finishes range from dark blue to gray. Understated aesthetic aside, you’ll instantly recognize the designer’s touch, thanks to the familiar red tag on the right cuff, logo inside the watch pocket, and a just-short-of-subtle “Prada” stitched on the right rear pocket.

This it is indeed good news.

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The Decline of Helmut Lang

Sunday, June 26th, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, here is the link to long article on the aftermath of the Helmut Lang leaving his firm after its purchase by the Prada.

There’s little doubt about Helmut Lang’s major influence over the fashion of the last 15 years. Consumers can thank him for flat-front pants, the number of buttons on men’s suits — first three, more recently two — and the spiraling prices of designer jeans and T-shirts. An entire culture of prestige denim was born from Lang’s low-rise jeans with intricate washes, for which he dared to charge close to $200 in the 1990s.

So powerful was his creative leadership that when he said he would show his collections in Manhattan ahead of European rivals, most American designers followed suit, and New York Fashion Week was permanently rescheduled.

Yet the designer, who was once a driving force of minimalism, has found himself in a state of free fall, with his empire being dismantled piece by piece.

Four months ago Lang left the company that bears his name after long-running discontent with the Prada Group, which owns it. In early May, Prada began talks to sell off the business, describing it as unprofitable. In late May, Prada told managers at the designer’s stores in New York and Paris they would be shuttered in July.


Publicly, Prada executives attributed the slide to declining tourism related to fear of terrorism and severe acute respiratory syndrome and to the strong euro, but not to what some retailers now acknowledge, that Lang’s dedication to minimalism was absolute even as consumer tastes evolved.

“Look at Dolce & Gabbana, Cavalli, Dior and Chloe,” said Carla Sozzani, the owner of 10 Corso Como, an influential store in Milan, where Prada is based. “That has nothing to do with Helmut Lang. The whole concept of minimalism was very good in the early ’90s, but then for the past several years, people were not interested in that look.”

Another reason for the decline in sales was Prada’s cancellation of a license to an outside company to make Helmut Lang jeans, which were responsible for more than half of the brand’s revenues. In their trademark dark blue or black, the jeans were sold at more than 700 stores around the world. The decision to cut back production was in line with the dominant philosophy of building a designer label through expensive leather handbags and shoes and opening chic retail stores.

Lang said at the time the move would protect the exclusivity of his name. That was the mantra of the luxury industry circa 2000, as intoned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and other companies.

But in reducing the production of Helmut Lang denim, Prada was in a sense killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. “This may have been good for the image, but maybe not good for the business,” Sozzani said.

The departure of the Helmut Lang, and the subsequent decline of the Helmut Lang brand, it is, together with the similar events at the Prada-owned Jil Sander, among the conspicuous failures of the recent Prada strategy of expansion. Perhaps, the retrenchment into the core of the Prada business it is needed?

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Prada at the Sam’s Clubs?

Sunday, February 20th, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, here is the article that it sounds too ridiculous to be true.

My name is Aime Palmer, and I am a sucker for wholesale goods. Sam’s Club is my mecca — but not just for those fab mini quiches and the fresh salsa I serve at every other party.

My Waterford crystal? Sam’s. My Stag’s Leap Merlot? Sam’s. My Prada wallet? Sam’s.

They also generally carry Fendi and Prada handbags and small goods, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses, Ferragamo and Dooney & Bourke accessories and designer fragrances (not to mention loads of bling bling) at prices seriously lower than department stores.

My Prada wallet? $154. Not very frugal, I know. But -ista in my dictionary means getting it for more than $50 less than average department store prices, a phenomenon that makes me all warm and tingly inside.

Manolo shouts, Ayyyyyyyy! The Apocalypse, she is upon us!

Trouble in the Land of the Couture

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, here is the longish article from the Time Magazine about the various troubles in the fashion industry. There is much about the Prada in it, however, what interested the Manolo was this prediction about the death of the couture.

Couture’s future is chancier. Those catwalk confections don’t turn a profit. From inspiration to hand-sewn conclusion, each runway spectacle can cost about $3 million to produce while the number of clients willing to pay $60,000 or more for a dress dwindles. With the U.S. dollar steadily weakening against the euro, such dependable American customers as Suzanne Saperstein, the fashion-mad wife of billionaire media tycoon David Saperstein, are tightening their Hermès belts or dropping out of couture altogether.

So are more and more fashion houses. In recent years, Yves Saint Laurent, Ungaro and Versace have shuttered their couture operations. Last year, according to analysts’ estimates, Lacroix generated about $39 million in sales from its couture, ready-to-wear and licensing businesses–with a loss of $13 million. Those in the designer’s inner circle say Lacroix is bitter about the way LVMH’S chairman, Bernard Arnault, handled the sale, although Arnault shows little regret. “For 17 years we have worked to transform the company, and we have not been successful,” he says. “It’s time to focus on our core businesses and those brands like [Louis] Vuitton that have the most potential.”

Manolo says, this, it is frightening. Without the attempts by some of the less skilled designers at the high-concept fashion what will the Manolo mock?

The Helmut Lang Quits

Wednesday, January 26th, 2005
By Manolo

Manolo says, here is the article from the New York Times about the quitting of the Helmut Lang, who was, in addition to having his own line, the creative director at the Prada. The article it is filled with the talk of the business of fashion, but the Manolo he presents it here for this portrait of the Miuccia and her husband.

Prada, which took a controlling stake in the Helmut Lang brand in 1999, announced Mr. Lang’s resignation as creative director, which comes only two months after another Prada Group designer, Jil Sander, resigned from her label – for the second time. Associates of both designers said they quit for the same reasons: clashes over creative direction and frustrations with the financial support of Patrizio Bertelli, chief executive of Prada. Mr. Bertelli is married to the Prada designer Miuccia Prada.


Analysts who have followed Prada, which has repeatedly announced – and withdrawn – plans to go public, expressed some concern over Prada’s strong confidence in its ability to turn a profit at Helmut Lang. Similar faith in the potential of Ms. Sander’s label was offered after her first departure in 2000, but profits disintegrated.

“Prada has always had a very independent attitude,” said Gilbert W. Harrison, chairman of the investment bank Financo. “They evidently have not learned from their past experience. Mr. Bertelli is a very independent person, and his wife is just as independent. Their attitude is that they own this business and they’re going to do what they want with it.”

Others were less quick to paint Mr. Bertelli as the aggressor, noting that Mr. Lang also has a reputation for being stubborn, refusing to work with fabrics or techniques he deemed inferior even if lower costs would help the bottom line. During a peak moment of influence for the designer in the late 90’s, his decision to move his fashion collection from Paris to New York and to present it several weeks early created an industry-wide ripple as others followed his lead. Sales were as high as $100 million. But since selling to Prada, the Helmut Lang business has shrunk considerably, to $37 million in 2003, the company reported. “I always think it’s a challenge when the creative force of a company leaves his own brand,” said Ron Frasch, the chief merchant of Saks Fifth Avenue. “That said, it’s probably a more significant issue when the company has been commercially successful, versus when it has not. Obviously, Mr. Bertelli wouldn’t have done this if he didn’t think there was the potential to begin to diminish his losses.”

Manolo says, the Prada it is indeed as the Times says, very independent.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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