Modelled on the catwalks of Milan ... coming soon to Britain's high streets
Prada, which showed yesterday morning, is one of these super labels. Such is its influence that a model need only cough on the catwalk and the rest of the fashion world will break into mass coughing fits. A single unassuming 40-something woman, Miuccia Prada is responsible for much of what we have seen on the High Street for the past few seasons - from the current crop of antiqued leather shoes that are featured in chain stores from Miss Selfridge to Ravel, to the strange Seventies' abstract prints in stores like Oasis.
It all happens in a tiny white showroom in a back street in Milan. The crowds gather early, desperate for a glimpse of the Prada look for spring/summer 97. Deadpan models walk down the catwalk like automatons, dressed in wispy lengths of sheer chiffon and Imperial Chinese style three inch platform wedge sandals.
The detail of the shoes is important - only a small number of women will be able to afford the real thing, but the style will be copied and mass marketed in a shop or market stall near you by high summer.
The collection also includes mandarin collar chiffon cardigans, transparent empire line chiffon dresses that would have been worn as underslips by a Jane Austen heroine, bamboo brocade, silk skirts and narrow Cheongsam dresses worn over floaty chiffon trousers, oriental flower embroideries, and the Prada trademark military uniform. Prada's success has been increasing every year since the introduction of a women's wear line in 1989.
Before that, the privately owned family company set up by Miuccia Prada's grandfather, specialised in leather goods. By the end of the decade, cosmetics, perfume, lingerie and the home collection will have been added to the empire. This year, the company plans to expand worldwide adding 35 new stores to the existing 61. By next year, sales are expected to increase from this year's pounds 500m to pounds 730m.
Design duo Dolce & Gabbana and stylist Krizia today unveil their latest collections.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
National archives: Edward VIII’s phone calls - and how MI5 bugged them
World news in pictures
Eyewitness Ingrid Loyau-Kennett gives extraordinary account of her confrontation with Woolwich attackers
- 1 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 2 Mothers' diets may harm IQs in two-thirds of babies
- 3 Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
- 4 Eyewitness Ingrid Loyau-Kennett gives extraordinary account of her confrontation with Woolwich attackers
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL might have a sinister plan as a soldier is murdered in suspected Islamic terrorist attack
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.