Prada vs Louis Vuitton

Some of the big names in the luxury brands (from left to right) Virgil Abloh, Nicolas Fhesquière, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simmons | Illustration by Holly Wiggins for The Market Herald

The Battle of the Brands: Prada vs Louis Vuitton

Prada and Louis Vuitton are recognised as two of the most prestigious names in the world of luxury handbags, jewellery and overall fashion design. For more than a hundred years, the respective brands have been building their luxury empires into the style icons they are today.

According to Bloomberg, Prada recorded revenue of A$5.56 billion in 2021. The LVHM conglomerate (Louis Vuitton, Moët Hennessy) smashed records with Macro Trends reporting annual revenue of A$105.7 billion for the luxury goods group.

The two brands have become synonymous with style and wealth, so anyone aspiring to achieve either of the two should have some stake in the game. In alignment with this, you can expect your favourite A-list celebrity to have donned a Prada bag or two in their lifetime.

Yolanda Hadid spotted with a Prada Faces Fame bag
Yolanda Hadid spotted with a Prada Faces Fame bag | Source: Purse Blog

But how did they get here and where do the brands and their reputations stand today? Below, we take a deep dive into the history and style of two of the most iconic luxury brands in the world.

A brief history of Louis Vuitton

It was 1854 when Louis Vuitton established his luggage business in Paris at 4 Rue Neuve des Capucines. As rail and then automobile travel became an established part of life, Vuitton’s business began to grow. Carried by the likes of Paul Poiret, Dora Maar and Francis Picabia, LV luggage was not only a status symbol but also a practical purchase: its trunks were, and still are, waterproof to prevent accidental damage to the items inside. They first appeared in the iconic LV monogram pattern in 1896.

Italian actress Anna Magnani and her fleet of Louis Vuitton | Source: Getty Images
Prada Timeline, Illustration by Holly Wiggins for The Market Herald
A timeline of some of Louis Vuitton’s iconic moments | Illustration by Holly Wiggins for The Market Herald

1930

Louis Vuitton Speedy Bag

It’s the Louis Vuitton trademark canvassed on an iconic Monogram bag. Chic and compact the Speedy Bag is the perfect companion for everyday use and the bag that revolutionised Louis Vuitton as a luxury staple.

Perhaps the most iconic of all the Louis Vuitton handbags, available in a huge range of sizes and with a vast variety of decorations, no handbag collection is complete without one. It’s a timeless release by the French luxury house, featuring rolled leather handles, an engraved padlock and an inside zipped pocket.

1987

The Conglomerate LVMH is formed

As the success of the Vuitton brand began to climb, the brand’s signature pattern was developed, which continues today. The year 1987 saw the conglomerate of luxury brands LVMH form a union. This merger saw Moet et Chandon and Hennessy join forces with the French luxury house and was followed by a 49 per cent increase in profits from the previous year.

2002

Louis Vuitton collaborates with Takashi Murakami

At the behest of creative director Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton embarked on a collaboration with contemporary artist Takashi Murakami in 2002. Takashi Murakami is one of the most recognisable Japanese artists today, whose satirical pop art is often compared to that of Andy Warhol.

The collaboration infused Murakami’s unique flair and colourful tendencies into Louis Vuitton’s products. The first release under the collaboration was the Monogram Multicore Collection which incorporated 33 colours onto the classic black or white LV canvas bag.

Louis Vuitton's Monogram Multicolour Line
Louis Vuitton’s Monogram Multicolour Line | Source: Purseblog

2015

Louis Vuitton Twist Bag

The Twist Bag is a chic take on the handbag range, perfect for a night out, running errands and everything in between. This bag won’t leave your shoulder, defined by its detachable chunky gold chain, leather braiding and removable strap. Inside, enjoy a design optimised for practicality with a large inside pocket and a flat pocket with a removable mirror and microfibre lining.

First introduced as part of its 2015 Cruise Collection, the name refers to the clever design of the distinctly contemporary clasp, in which a “V” is inverted to appear as an “L” in the formation of the “LV” logo. It merely confirms once again that the 168-year-old brand never fails in its quest to consistently modernize.

Louis Vuitton Twist MM Bag Black
Louis Vuitton Twist MM Bag Black, A$7,250 | Source: Louis Vuitton

Highlighting the Maison’s heritage with its iconic LV Twist lock, the bag’s distinct silhouette combines elegance with modern versatility and a youthful spirit. Reinvented with new details every season, the Twist has quickly become one of Louis Vuitton’s most emblematic bags.

2016

Louis Vuitton On The Beach fragrance

Prior to the perfume launch in 2016, the Maison had only released three fragrances, with the most recent of the three being released back in 1946. 

Louis Vuitton’s return to the world of fragrances comes as the industry is predicted to reach US$38.8 billion and follows the fashion house’s expansion into new categories. However, unlike other luxury fashion houses and cosmetic brands which have their scents created under license, the French fashion house is one of the few to take on its own in-house perfumer. This decision sits in line with the company’s vision to invest in its own supply chain and consolidate its artisanal skills as a way to protect the brand’s traditions.

This exclusive release is an encapsulation of the summer season; a mixture of salt, sea and endless days on the beach. Crafted by Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, this perfume is a blend of thyme, rosemary, cloves and pink pepper; an amalgamation of notes to leave you feeling fresh, bright and summery.

On the Beach Fragrance by Louis Vuitton
On the Beach Fragrance 100ML, A$470 | Source: Louis Vuitton

2018

Virgil Abloh is appointed creative director of Louis Vuitton

The late Virgil Abloh, acclaimed fashion designer and trained architect, is appointed creative director. Named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Abloh’s design aesthetic brought together streetwear and luxury clothing.

Abloh also became the first person of African descent to direct Louis Vuitton’s menswear. His works under the brand were first exhibited at Men’s Fashion Week at the Palais-Royal gardens in Paris in 2018.

Virgil Abloh's debut as Men's Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton
Virgil Abloh’s debut as Men’s Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton | Source: LVMH

A brief history of Prada

Founded in 1913, luxury Italian fashion house Prada has made a name for itself in leather handbags, travel accessories, shoes and perfume. However, the brand didn’t begin to see its soaring popularity until the 1980s. Today, Prada is an established icon in the luxury fashion game and a staple amongst celebrities. The luxury fashion label is so well recognised that it’s made numerous appearances in pop culture references including the 2006 feature film The Devil Wears Prada.

A timeline of some of Prada's iconic moments, Illustration by Holly Wiggins for The Market Herald
A timeline of some of Prada’s iconic moments | Illustration by Holly Wiggins for The Market Herald

1913

Prada was founded

The esteemed Prada brand was founded by Mario Prado and his brother Martino who opened the first store in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. Just six years after opening its first store, Prada was awarded the title of Official Supplier of the Italian Royal House which allows the fashion house to use design elements of the House of Savoy coat of arms.

Mario was initially opposed to having women in the company, but this was overturned when his son expressed no interest in the family business. Later, Mario’s daughter Luisa succeeded her father and during her time, the brand become a world-class symbol of status and wealth.

A depiction of Mario Prada in the first Prada store
A depiction of Mario Prada in the first Prada store | Source: Prada Group

1978

Miuccia Prada takes the helm

The brand is passed down to Miuccia Prada as its popularity and wealth continue to grow. According to data from Reference for Business, sales reached A$44.56 million at this time.

Under Miuccia Prada, the first Prada handbag was introduced, now a hallmark product of the luxury brand. Eventually, ready-to-wear collections, shoes and even a men’s collection were launched as the brand’s success continued to soar.

Miuccia Prada
Miuccia Prada | Source: Luxury Activist

Always ahead of trends, Prada’s style has evolved significantly throughout the decades. The brand has always remained fearless, often transcending the current trends and anticipating new ones, all while paying homage to its heritage and northern Italian craftsmanship traditions.

2004

The Prada Eau de Parfum is released

It’s a fragrance for the modern woman; sophisticated, classic and rich. The Prada Eau de Parfum is a signature scent from the luxury fashion house delivered in a sleek rectangular bottle with a compact cap. Centred around amber, this classic perfume features complimentary notes of sandalwood, bergamot, honey and patchouli.

Prada Eau de Parfum 80ml
Prada Eau de Parfum 80ml, A$99.99 | Source: Chemist Warehouse

2007

The Galleria Handbag is released

The Galleria handbag made with Saffiano leather is one of the most iconic Prada features to date. Featuring a double handle, detachable shoulder strap and gold-tone metal hardware, this bag is a staple in Prada’s collections.

Prada Galleria Saffiano leather large bag

Prada Galleria Saffiano leather large bag, A$5,200 | Source: Prada

2010

Prada Chandelier Sandal

Made from clear resin with dangling crystal embellishments, these sandals are a statement piece that will turn heads as you saunter down the street. The sandals are constructed with a plexiglass heel, studded platform and delicate straps, in a design so intricate it must be seen to be believed. The dainty design was hailed as the “It” shoes from Prada’s 2010 Spring collection.

Spotted on the first assistant to acclaimed fashion designer Nicola Formichetti, the “Chandelier Shoes” were an iconic release forever ingrained in the brand’s influence. Of the collection, Miuccia Prada said her design objective was “business to beach”.

Prada Chandelier Shoes from the Spring 2010 Collection
Prada Chandelier Shoes from the Spring 2010 Collection. Prices vary. | Source: Pinterest

2021

Prada Releases the Brushed Leather Cleo Bag

In an ode to archival products, the Prada Cleo bag was released in 2021, showcasing designs from the 1990s. This sleek and sophisticated bag plays on the hobo bag style while emphasising its brushed leather material for an overall soft look.

Prada Brushed Leather Cleo Bag
Prada Brushed Leather Cleo Bag | Source: Pinterest

If you’ve opted for a Louis Vuitton purchase, check out four ways to wear the Louis Vuitton multi pochette it-bag. Or, if you’re leaning towards Prada, check out the brand’s staple winter coat: the Prada puffer.

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