With a fresh new website, the beginning of 2017 also brings two significant new brands. We are getting very Italian this year with the addition of the luxurious and well-known Italian brands, Prada and Bvlgari. Here we take a look at the past and the road to international fame for these two iconic Italian brands.
Prada : Leading the Way in Italian Brands
Quite surprisingly, for such a globally iconic brand, Prada has always remained a family business. Created in the capital of fashion, Milan, in 1913 by Mario Prada, it was at the very beginning a store in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It sold trunks, beauty cases and leather bags. Things have changed a lot since then. One big change includes becoming the “Official Supplier to the Italian Royal Household” and the taking over by the women in the family. After Mario Prada, his daughter Luisa Prada succeeded him and her own daughter Miuccia Prada then succeeded her.
In 1977, Miuccia Prada joined forces with an Italian Businessman, Patrizio Bertelli –who later became her husband, to develop the Prada label. In the late 1980s, Prada became international, opening stores in New York, Madrid, London, Paris and Tokyo. Stating the obvious, Prada is being primarily a sunglasses brand. I was not until 2000 that they launched their sunglasses and eyewear collections. Prada then never stopped growing, launching fragrances, phones, exhibitions and films. They can also boast having celebrity fans. Among their biggest fans are Uma Thurman, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman and Cameron Diaz.
Even older than Prada, Bvlgari is one of the oldest Italian brands/jewellery houses, founded in 1884 by Sotirio Voulgaris. Being a Greek immigrant to Italy, he originally wanted the name “Bulgari” as a phonetic version of his name. It then became “Bvlgari” in order to reinforce the Greek roots of the company. A family business as well, Bvlgari evolved in the hands of Constantino and Giorgio, Sotirio’s sons. Giorgio’s son Gianni initiated the internationalization of the company in the 1970s, opening shops in New York, Geneva, Monte-Carlo and Paris.
The company then moved to his brothers Nicola and Paolo, before Francesco Trapani, Lia Trapani’s (Sotirio’s granddaughter) son. Today, with 230 retail locations worldwide, and selling handbags, watches, fragrances, hotels and sunglasses, one can say the global brand Bvlgari has made its way in the fashion industry. True to its roots, Bvlgari style features ancient elements of Roman, Greek, and Italian Renaissance. It later introduced Parisian and Art Deco arts. The compact rounded forms of their sunglasses feature generous gems and various colors. Famous Bvlgari fans include Elizabeth Taylor, whose belongings were even put on display as part of the 125 anniversary exhibition.