Miuccia Prada’s fascination with ugliness and her unique creative philosophy

At the helm of a 4 billion euro luxury powerhouse which includes brands such as Prada, Miu Miu, Church’s and Car Shoe, which she co-owns and runs with her husband Patrizio Bertelli, Miuccia Prada has recently spoken to the Telegraph’s Stella magazine about her creative thinking, branding and her fascination with ugliness.

Mrs Prada said she did not see herself as part of the conventional fashion industry. “When I started, fashion was the worst place to be if you were a leftist feminist. It was horrid. I had a prejudice, yes, I always had a problem with it,” adding “I suppose I felt guilty not to be doing something more important, more political. So in a way I am trying to use the company for these other activities.”

However the inspiration for the designs remains her own, including, she said, her unusual interest in ugliness. “Ugly is attractive, ugly is exciting. Maybe because it is newer,” she said. “The investigation of ugliness is, to me, more interesting than the bourgeois idea of beauty. And why? Because ugly is human.

“It touches the bad and the dirty side of people. You know, this might have been a scandal in fashion but in other fields of art it is common: in painting and in movies it was so common to see ugliness. But, yes, it was not used in fashion and I was very much criticised for inventing the trashy and the ugly.”

“Sometimes I still feel that women don’t appreciate their position in society. That we are not strong enough to impose our thinking. We don’t like businesswomen: we go against women who appear to be like men. I chose a compromise, a complete compromise. I chose a bit of avant-garde, a bit of fashion, and for me it works. I don’t want to reject my past because I have it so deeply inside me. To be nice with a man, I don’t think it’s so bad.”

Miuccia Prada at Fondazione Prada in Venice, for the occasion of the Venice Biennale