THE LAUNCH OF PRADA SPORT
Only a few years after the debut of the Prada Menswear line with English Designer Neil Barret, CEO Patrizio Bertelli announced the launch of the new ‘Prada Sport’ subline. This was likely a combined result of Bertelli’s decision to begin putting together the Luna Rossa sailing team in 1997, which created the need for a more functional design approach, and Barrett’s own desires to take his designs in a more technical direction.
It was also not uncommon at the time for luxury fashion houses to release their own athletic sub-brands with relatively cheaper products aimed at the leisure consumer. Some were sceptical of this move at first, unsure if it would be of interest to consumers and if this was just an attempt by Prada to offer lower prices and attract a different type of customer. However, Prada had made it clear from their first collection that this was not the case with their Sport line.
They aimed to transfer their expert tailoring across and experiment with a much wider range of high-quality, high-performance materials. Prada stated that they were creating “metropolitan garments with materials and shapes that assimilate the features of technical mountain clothes”, identifiable by the now-unmistakable small red Prada tab on the cuff or hem of the garments.
THE EARLY SEASON SUCCESS OF PRADA SPORT
The S/S1999 Prada Sport collection was first seen on the runway in June 1998 and consisted of 200 pieces in total, constructed with a range of fabrics from famous textile companies like W.L. Gore & Associates, Schoeller and Thermore. Prada also initially aimed to use the Sport line to gain a stronghold in the American market by opening a flagship store in New York, the first to sell Prada Sport exclusively.
Prada Sport pieces were only featured on the runway 3 consecutive times (S/S1999, F/W1999 & S/S2000), which showcased a beautiful range of highly technical pieces that clearly separated Prada Sport from the athletic diffusion lines of Prada’s competitors. The early years of Prada Sport are undoubtedly iconic. Every piece was a hit among consumers, in particular the famous Americas Cup sneaker which was being worn everywhere from the streets of Milan to the nightclubs of London, allowing the brand to gain a huge cult following worldwide and become as popular as Prada’s mainline brand in the early 2000s.
For more information on how to identify and authenticate Prada Sport items, please see our complete guide here.
THE PRADA SPORT ‘RED TAB’ RETURNS
Throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s, the designs of the Prada Sport label acquired a slightly more sophisticated twist with Prada seemingly merging their Main and Sport lines, however, the label never lost its technical roots and popularity. This was apparent when the famous red line returned to the runway in 2018 under the official name of ‘Prada Linea Rossa’, rounding off 20 years as the peak of luxury sportswear.
ICONIC PRADA SPORT ITEMS
Prada Sport has released several iconic garments over the years. We go into a deep dive below on two of the most recognisable and sought after items in Prada Sport's history.
Prada Sport "America’s Cup" Sneaker 1999
The idea for Prada’s first athletic shoe dates back to 1997, when the first plans were being put forward for the conception of the Luna Rossa sailing team. The PS0906 (original production code) was designed to be worn by team members on the yachts. In 1999, Prada launched a shoe constructed from a high-quality leather with technical mesh panelling on the sides of the shoe and the signature red line on the tongue and heel. They were later named the ‘America’s Cup’ sneaker, after the famous sailing competition that Prada won at their first ever attempt in 2000. Over 20 years later, the Prada ‘America’s Cup’ Sneaker is still one of the most popular trainers made by a luxury fashion house, so it was only right for Prada to bring them back in their original design form in 2021.
Prada Sport Burgundy Modular Gilet & Jacket SS2000
This piece is constructed from Prada’s signature nylon gabardine material and perfectly represents the more functional approach that Prada took in the early 2000s with their designs. The lightweight construction and zip-off arms made this jacket a very popular piece for the summer. There are 4 pockets in total (2 exterior and 2 interior), and a two-way zipper for multiple styling options. The elbows also feature padding for added comfort and there is a small gap in the pit area for ventilation. The Prada Sport red tab sits at the hem of the jacket to round off the perfect summer piece.
Prada Sport Technical Utility ‘Kimono’ SS1999
This piece is constructed from Prada’s signature lightweight nylon gabardine material, making it very lightweight and breathable. The kimono can be secured via 2 interior straps and outer Velcro panels, which are layered over with a darker nylon to add to the technical look of the garment. There are also 2 discrete hand pockets and another nylon interior pocket for storage. Prada chose to re-work a historical garment to create a very unique and unusual style piece for the Sport line. This was also a style that was never replicated in later seasons, making it a standout piece from the first runway collection.
WHERE TO BUY PRADA SPORT?
Download TRUSS to find the rarest Prada Sport from the early years.