Prada attacks 'awful look of desperation' in Italian women

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The Independent Online

Miuccia Prada, the former political scientist who became a billion-dollar fashion designer, has dealt a devastating broadside against the fashion sense of Italian women.

Talking to Corriere della Sera newspaper, she said the scarcely clothed young women who so frequently adorned Italian television were "Awful! I call that look, 'the desperation of the sexy'!"

She went on: "That's what I say to the girls in our office when they arrive in the morning, with their high heels and their tummies exposed.

"The more sexy you make yourself appear, the less you'll have sex, I tell them. You are desperate, I say. To look sexy once in a while, fine, but not like this, from morning to night."

Prada, who built a billion-dollar fashion empire designing clothes that sometimes verge on the frumpish, was a full-blown Sixties leftist, gaining a doctorate in political science and campaigning for women's lib before marrying Patrizio Bertelli, owner of a Tuscan leather-goods company. With him she transformed Prada first into a fashion shoe firm and then, in 1989, into a clothing manufacturer.

This week the company opened an extraordinary store in Tokyo, designed by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron of London's Tate Modern fame, and composed of hundreds of rhomboid-shaped panes of glass, climbing to a pointed roofline.

With its subtle and understated styles, Prada has become a great power in Milan, swallowing firms such as Jil Sander, Helmut Lang and Church's shoes, and building architectural landmarks in the guise of shops, first in New York, now in Tokyo, with Los Angeles and San Fransisco due to follow.

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