The Untold Truth Of Miu Miu

Miu Miu, the designer fashion brainchild of Miuccia Prada, is often referred to as "Prada's little sister." But with its youthful sensibilities, edgy sartorial choices, and fearless experimentation, Miu Miu has proven to be a brand that's so much more than just a designer brand's sibling. It's no wonder, then, that year after year, fashion weeks around the world are dazzled by Miu Miu's offerings, which have become truly iconic.

You may find yourself wondering, why did Prada (the woman) feel the need to create a separate design entity distinct from her eponymous brand? After all, why not just keep everything under a unified umbrella, especially when Prada is such an esteemed name in the fashion world? Well, Miu Miu clearly needed to establish itself as its own entity, as it even moved away from the place it was born (via StyleCaster).

So what else is there to know about Miu Miu other than who its founder is and how it's perceived in the world of style? Who's represented Miu Miu, and how has the brand evolved since its inception? Well, wonder no more: This is the untold truth of Miu Miu.

Miuccia Prada founded Miu Miu in 1993

Miu Miu is not a brand started by any fashion newbie. Miuccia Prada has been in the fashion industry for decades. For one, she was born into the Prada family in 1948, her grandfather having created the eponymous brand back in 1913, according to Prada's website. The very first Prada store was established in Milan, Italy, where Mario Prada "sold precious bags, trunks, and travel accessories." Years later, in the 1970s, Miuccia officially entered her family's business, starting out as an accessory designer. By 1988, the Prada brand had stepped onto the catwalk in Milan and became a global brand shortly thereafter in 1991 after expanding into China, Japan, and the United States.

All of this is to contextualize the birth of Miu Miu, which was induced when its first boutique opened in Milan in 1993, as noted by SavoirFlair. As for Miuccia's reasoning for launching the brand, she did so to showcase her more "extreme and playful" side, juxtaposing against the established minimalism of Prada. Talk about an origin story.

This is the difference between Miu Miu and Prada

We get it: You might be hard-pressed to understand the difference between Miu Miu and Prada, especially if you're not sartorially-inclined. After all, Miuccia Prada is the primary design force behind both operations, so are the two brands really that distinct? As it turns out, yes, and here's why. "The creative process in Miu Miu is completely different from that of Prada," Miuccia explained in a statement obtained by Business of Fashion. "Miu Miu is not as complicated and [thought] out as Prada." She added that designing isn't exactly a simple process for her, which might give you some insight as to how these two brands are able to diverge.

And while you may be tempted to describe Miu Miu as fledgling or otherwise green behind the ears, Miuccia said there's more to it. "Rather than being young, Miu Miu is immediate," she continued. "Prada is very sophisticated and considered; Miu Miu is much more naïve." That's on top of being more spontaneous — if Miuccia finds herself spending too much time on a particular Miu Miu design, she knows she's overthinking it.

Supermodel Kate Moss walked in the very first Miu Miu show

There's no doubt that Miu Miu was destined to become an iconic designer brand, given that Miuccia Prada was (and still is) the genius behind the label. However, thanks to a little help from her friends, Miu Miu was instantly on the radar of every fashionista back in 1995.

The reason? According to SavoirFlair, when Miu Miu's first-ever collection made its debut on the catwalks of New York Fashion Week, legendary supermodel Kate Moss was the "star" of the show — instantly giving Miu Miu real clout amongst the industry elite. At the time, there was no more famous or in-demand model than Moss, so who better to show that your collections are worth walking for?

After that, Miu Miu went on to become a staple at fashion shows around the world and has been dazzling all of us ever since. And in a circle-of-life turn of events, Moss' daughter made her runway debut walking for Miu Miu in 2020, as noted by W magazine. And, trust us, she's just as gorgeous as her mom.

Here's why Miu Miu moved from Milan to Paris

Prada is a distinctly Italian brand, thanks to the designer family's long history in the country and their distinct Italian heritage. And while Miu Miu also got its start in the studios of Milan, Miuccia Prada moved the bulk of Miu Miu from Italy to Paris in 2013, as noted by StyleCaster. "A number of departments will be transferred to Paris, while the brand's industrial and commercial divisions will remain in Italy," a statement obtained by the magazine read. "The objective of this operation is to solidify Miu Miu's ties within the city of Paris by expanding its marketing personnel within France."

The move made sense, especially since Miu Miu had debuted its collections at Paris Fashion Week (and not Milan Fashion Week) since 2006. However, StyleCaster did point out that the move was "peculiar" when contextualized by the fact that Dolce & Gabbana was mired in financial and legal trouble with the Italian government at the time. But it's simply more likely that Miu Miu just wanted deeper roots in the city of lights, which is arguably the biggest fashion city in the world.

These celebs appeared in Miu Miu campaigns

Kate Moss wasn't the only celebrity to represent Miu Miu in an official capacity. In fact, a host of famous women have lended their charms to the designer brand, starting with Drew Barrymore. According to SavoirFlair, she was the first celebrity to front an advertising campaign for the fledgling label back in 1995 — quite the honor!

Two years later at London Fashion Week, model Angela Lindvall helmed the Miu Miu show, followed by an ad campaign featuring a young Chloë Sevigny. Then, in 2004, legendary singer Madonna sported custom Miu Miu boots made of leather and gold on stage the same year that Maggie Gyllenhaal stunned in a seductive Miu Miu print campaign. After that, everyone from Evan Rachel Wood, Lou Doillon, Kirsten Dunst, Vanessa Paradis, Lindsey Wixson, and Hailee Steinfeld fronted advertising campaigns for Miu Miu in a continually star-studded push to promote the brand. So while Miu Miu was, indeed, the little sister to Prada for many years, it's easy to see how it quite steadily came into its own.

Who is the most Miu Miu girl of all?

Of all the high-profile models and glamorous celebs, who is the embodiment of Miu Miu more than anyone else? Who encapsulates the iconic brand with their natural looks and sophisticated fashion choices? According to Vogue, that person is none other than actress Elle Fanning — "arguably Miu Miu's most Miu Miu girl," as they put it. Fanning started working for the designer brand back in 2014, and since then has helmed advertising campaigns, walked the runways wearing Miu Miu attire, and donned the brand at all kinds of glamorous events. "My first campaign I did for Miu Miu was when I was 14," Fanning explained. "That was the first time I met Mrs. Prada and since then I've become a part of the family." Lucky!

Fanning also was the face of the Miu Miu fragrance Twist, which involved starring in a seriously artistic commercial for the perfume. It's no wonder, then, that she's so fond both of Miuccia Prada and her designs. "Miu Miu is just the all-round perfect brand," she added. "I could wear all of it." 

This is who does hair and makeup for Miu Miu shows

A lot goes into a runway show at any fashion week, and that's certainly no different for Miu Miu events. You need to have an army of models ready, all the featured clothing on-hand, plenty of backstage assistance to dress the models, and all of the technicians and handlers present to ensure everything runs smoothly.

In addition to all of those moving parts, no runway team would be complete without both a makeup artist and a hair stylist. As for Miu Miu, Miuccia Prada spares no expense and hires the best: makeup juggernaut Pat McGrath and stylist icon Guido Palau. And, as Palau tells it, working with Miuccia is a wonderful experience. "It's always exciting because she's such a fantastic, fascinating woman," he gushed in an interview with Dazed Beauty. "She's so intuitive."

Palau also knows that he can count on Miu Miu designs to be innovative and exciting, as Miuccia is always creating. "Anyone who's at the top of their game for so long, they don't rest on their laurels," he continued. "They don't rest on what they did last season." Fascinating.

Miu Miu is intentionally subversive

If you're not blessed with keenly-honed sartorial sensibilities, fashion design can be something of a mystery. However, if you have a sense of style on par with Miranda Priestly — which WGSN's Associate Editor of Womenswear Anna Ross does — you can surely appreciate Miu Miu's expressive designs. "There is a tongue and cheek element to Prada's younger sister that makes it more footloose and fancy-free," she explained in an interview with Grazia. "It doesn't take itself too seriously and plays just on the right side of satire while remaining chic." That's a pretty fine line to walk if you ask us.

That's not all, either, as Miuccia Prada isn't trying to play it safe with Miu Miu in the least, as noted by Ross. "There's a rebellious edge to Miu Miu's codes which appeals to the rulebreakers," she continued. "Miuccia has a knack of playing with the constructs of taste, brilliantly subverting [colors], shapes, and patterns in ways which shouldn't work, yet work perfectly under her guidance." No wonder the brand is so successful.

Miu Miu commissions female directors for art films

If there's one thing we can learn from Miuccia Prada and her Miu Miu brand, it's that fashion as an art form doesn't exist in a vacuum. Rather, Miuccia understands that clothing design can inspire and initiate other artists to create pieces connected to apparel. "I'm comfortable because I see that my work is an instrument for so many other things and that people love fashion in general," she told Interview magazine. And that includes video art — and not just commercials for various Miu Miu products, according to Miuccia. "Miu Miu commissioned some films by female directors," she continued.

Miuccia is referring to Miu Miu's Women's Tales film series, which has been running since 2011, as noted by the Prada Group's website. According to Variety, these movies are no small potatoes, either; they are shown at the Venice Film Festival and include submissions from filmmakers like Ava DuVernay, So Yong Kim, Chloë Sevigny, Zoe Cassavetes, and Massy Tadjedin. "Films in the series have explored self-image, appearance, identity, and the nature of femininity," Variety explained.

Believe it or not, Miu Miu once had a men's fashion line

While Miu Miu is well-known for being a women's line of clothing that celebrates female empowerment — they do have the Women's Tales film series, after all — there used to be a male side of the brand. Yes, you read that right: Miu Miu had a menswear line back in the day, and we're sad it's no longer here.

According to Dazed, Miu Miu's clothing line for men debuted all the way back in 1999 and made fashion-forward men everywhere swoon for a decade. Why? As Miuccia Prada tells it, the aesthetics made a statement. "It's light and free. Not serious," she revealed to the Independent. "Age is not really fundamental; the spirit is more important than age. It's more the idea and the spirit that counts." Sign us up.

Miuccia stopped designing menswear for Miu Miu in 2008, much to the chagrin of its fans. But Prada still designs clothing for men, which is the next best thing.

Miu Miu stepped into hot water in 2017

While Miu Miu strives to be an inclusive brand that promotes female empowerment and equality, sometimes they accidentally miss the mark. Such was the case when a yellow star featuring the name "John" was emblazoned on a piece of Miu Miu clothing by designers. This didn't go over well with Jewish blogger Jewish Chick, who explained why the star was offensive. "While the yellow star is with [five] points versus [six], it clearly brings back horrific images of the stars Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust and is an indirect spit in the face to the [six] million Jews that were massacred by the Nazis, as well as those that survived the horrific ordeals of WW2," she told Jewish Breaking News (via Refinery29).

Fortunately, Miu Miu was quick to fix the problem. "It was not Miu Miu's intent in any way to make any political or religious statement, and we apologize for any [offense] that may have been taken," Preia Narendra, Miu Miu's senior vice president of marketing and communications, told Refinery29. Miu Miu also pulled the offending item from the market right away.

Miu Miu has fashion lines for youths

While Miu Miu is known for leaning into the playful and naïve aspects of design, the brand also designs clothing that is specifically aimed at youths. As noted by the Telegraph, Miu Miu appeals to teenagers, hence the prevalence of flirtatious dresses and the abundance of crystals on the clothing and accessories that you find in their collection. That also explains the proliferation of dresses with Peter Pan collars and plaid outfits that hearken back-to-school days on their website. Given the price tags, however, it might be a bit tough for most teenagers to amass a large Miu Miu collection.

Another way that Miu Miu caters to younger audiences is with their models. For example, Hailee Steinfeld was just 14 years old when she started modeling for the designer brand, and Lindsey Wixson (who, at the time, was a relative newcomer) was just 16. But no matter what, you can wear Miu Miu regardless of your age — just rock it with confidence.

In 2015, Miu Miu launched a fragrance line

For a long time, Miu Miu was strictly in the business of clothing, shoes, and accessories, and that would probably have been enough for the now-iconic brand. But that changed in the fall of 2015, when Miu Miu entered the fragrance market. 

According to Refinery29, Miu Miu's debut fragrance was intentionally subversive, pushing back against gender norms. "We wanted to open the doors and open the windows with this fragrance," perfumer Daniela Andrier explained. "We didn't want another gourmand; we wanted something different, enjoyable, and unexpected." They also sought to be transgressive in their design, reflecting their desire for the perfume to be "the anti-pink."

Clearly, going into the fragrance business was the right move for Miu Miu, as you can now purchase a wide variety of perfumes on their website. They're also some of the less expensive items you'll find available from the retailer.

This is how Miu Miu adapted its groundbreaking 2021 fashion show

The COVID-19 pandemic that hit in 2020 and dragged into 2021 certainly upended everyone's lives. And while many events simply had to be cancelled, other events had to adapt, including Paris Fashion Week — and Miu Miu seized the opportunity to get creative.

According to Vogue, Miu Miu brought the cameras all the way to Cortina d'Ampezzo, a mountain town in Northern Italy. There, models walked on the snow in Miuccia Prada's Fall/Winter 2021 collection, which was inspired by her experience in the mountains. "I walk a lot in the mountains and when it's bad weather, it's difficult," she revealed. "Little by little, I realized what I was trying to say: Bravery. The dream to do something that's important and difficult. The clothes are not romantic but the spirit is." If that doesn't resonate with everyone after one of the most arduous years in recent history, what does?