Fashion designer Carolina Herrera has opened the doors of her home as well as her studio to reveal her lifestyle, at work and otherwise. We have also stepped inside the den of American designer Tommy Hilfiger in Miami and Chanel’s flagship store at London. Keeping up with our practice, today lets walk in to Prada’s headquarters at Bergamo 21 in Milan. Successfully run by Miuccia Prada and her husband Patrizio Bertelli, the Italian fashion house opens up the doors to reveal their elaborate shoemaking process and their passion for detailed perfection.
New York magazine took a tour of Bertelli’s Tuscan empire by visiting Prada’s shoemaking site in Buresta, a small village in Arezzo, followed by a visit to San Zeno, where Prada designs its stores. The headquarters at Buresta has been designed by Guido Canali. The 6,400-square-meter building is made of glass all along one side and has plants growing over interior walls. The assembly room is arranged, from left to right, so that sketches are turned into patterns; plotted onto leather; hammered, glued, nailed, and so on, until a design that begins life at one end becomes a finished shoe at the other.
Take a look at how most-sought-after Prada heels evolve – An orchid suede point-toe pump is measured at an old-fashioned cobbler’s bench before being positioned on a conveyor belt in anticipation of the next stage of production.
However it all starts with a Prada-branded pencil. A worker traces a point-toe pattern hand on thin white paper. The paper pattern is known as acamicia (shirt).
This is followed by the selection and cutting of fine leathers to suit each design.
At the San Zeno every single Prada store, window, or installation is meticulously practiced in advance. Take a look at the model for a shop window at Harrods—the bags are roughly 1 1/2 inches wide.