Prada and the Arts

Prada and the Art of Patronage by Nicky Ryan, is an interesting article as it examines luxury brands and the arts, by using Prada’s support of “avant-garde” artists and architects. It goes on to explain that art, fashion, architecture, design and shopping all fit together to reach the goal of a cohesive look. The Prada Epicenter gave a different shopping experience to its customers by using technology. Luxury stores are often designed using minimalist decor, according to the article the main reason is to downplay the guilt people feel when purchasing expensive items. Prada tries to keep consistent with the decor of the stores: green walls and pink carpet.

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Prada’s store expansion took an unexpected turn in the Fall of 2005, when the brand decided to purchase land in a desolate and unpopulated area in Valentine, Texas and called it “Marfa”. Although this seems strange, it attracts many celebrities and influencers, such as Beyonce. Individuals want to drive there, just to take pictures of the unique- and now iconic “store”. This is yet, another extension of Prada’s popular avant-garde brand. You have probably seen several pieces artwork inspired by the Prada Marfa store.

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Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli, had a well-established relationship with the arts through Fondazione Prada, the brands non-profit arts foundation in Milan, Italy. Miuccia Prada had a major impact on the brand when she took over in the 1990s. She used herself to market Prada and keep the image of luxury.

With every luxury brand, the name and logo is really what customers are paying for.  The logos provide a “brand of authenticity” which allows the merchandise to be sold at a higher price than its actual value. At the end of the day, its really just quality fabric and labor, just like other designer brands.

“We, as designers, have a job with so many possibilities and connections. We are connected to so many different portals, from art to movies to music to design. Fashion is always evolving. Actually, the field is huge. I don’t think there is another profession that is so open to so many possibilities.”- Miuccia Prada

Inside Look- SMU Costume Department

This week the Media and Art of Fashion Design class took a mini field trip to Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts costume design shop. It was really interesting to learn about what happens behind-the-scenes of SMU productions. When we first arrived we were greeted by Professor Stephens in the Green Room where she spoke to us about the amount of work that goes into designing costumes for every actor on stage. She also spoke about the importance of getting the costumes perfect in order to help the audience fully understand the story and how the stage lighting can significantly impact the colors of the fabrics. The designers need to put thought into how the costumes will appear on stage with different lighting and different viewpoints from the audience. Meadows puts on at least seven plays and several dance shows every year. That’s a lot of costumes that need to be designed!

Every costume has to be tailor-made to fit each actor perfectly, so they need to be remeasured quite often, especially guys who are still growing! Since this takes so much time, effort, and money, the costumes are sometimes reused and refurbished. They have numerous of options to chose from with a wide array of hats, shoes, clothing, and unused fabrics. Professor Stephens also took us under the stage and showed us the trap doors, where the orchestra gets on stage and storage for more costumes.

When designing costumes for live performances, you need to think ahead and always have backup plans just incase something goes wrong. When creating the costumes, they often times try to eliminate zippers and buttons, because it takes longer to put on and take off. Sometimes, actors need to be back on stage within a few seconds. This was a really fascinating experience and I am so happy we got to see and learn what the costume department at SMU is like.

To learn more about the upcoming events at Meadows School of the Arts, visit https://www.smu.edu/Meadows/NewsAndEvents/Calendar

“Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story.”- Mason Cooley