Since the late 20th century, luxury fashion labels started introducing diffusion lines to offer a more affordable array of products. A lot was to answer the public’s clamour of more wearable and streetwear variations of these labels’ designs, which were mostly too dressy for casual occasions. Usually, the clothes in these lines were also geared towards a more youthful audience and tended to be more hip and trendy than the collections of the main line. A lot of designers did this, from Polo by Ralph Lauren, Marc by Marc Jacobs, to Dolce and Gabbana’s former D&G line. Among the many that have come and passed, however, none have gained such prestige quite like Miu Miu, Prada’s diffusion line.
Miuccia’s Miu Miu
Launched in 1993, its name was derived from Miuccia Prada’s nickname, the label’s founder and creative director. Like many diffusion lines, it was created to be a more affordable selection of the Prada style, but as it progressed through the years, it eventually developed its own signature aesthetic. A lot of the styles of the brand reflected Miuccia’s own wardrobe, which was quirky, schoolgirl-like, and more avant-garde than what was offered from the Prada mainline. It was comparatively more youthful, with a lot of its marketing targeting women in their late teens, twenties and early thirties. At times, it also touched upon urban pieces, such as varsity jackets, puffer coats, and their signature look of pairing sneakers with knee-length socks.
In 1994, Miuccia Prada won the Council of Fashion Designers of America International award, thanks in part to her work for the brand. The following year, in 1995, the label debuted on New York Fashion Week, holding its first ever fashion show. Supermodel Kate Moss was chosen to walk on the show, which eventually catapulted the brand into wider recognition.
Successful Outcomes Upon Miu Miu
While the collections inspired fashion conversation, it was the company’s advertising that really put the brand on the map. Miu Miu’s ad campaigns were visually-interesting, rebellious, and mostly out of the norm of what one would see in usual fashion advertising. They evoked the attitude of latest collections but still retained the overall vibe of the brand. The models and celebrities who were chosen to front the label’s campaigns usually introduced them and propelled their popularity among the fashion industry. One of their first faces was actress Drew Barrymore, dressed in a two-piece white ensemble that bared her midriff, which at that time was a popular look among the youth.
In 1997, the brand moved from showing in New York Fashion week to London Fashion Week and introduced new models to walk their runway such as Angela Lindvall, Carmen Kass, and Karolina Kurkova, all of which would become top models of the early 2000’s. That same year, the label got actress Chloe Sevigny to star in their campaign. Dressed in a short-sleeved white shirt and cinnamon-colored slacks, she gave off an androgynous look that would later become another of the label’s many signature styles. From then on, Chloe Sevigny became one of Hollywood’s newest style icons.
While the label was known for its girlishness and youthful femininity, especially when contrasted with the main line’s rigid refinement and strict tailoring, it also had a short-lived menswear line. Established at the same time as the womenswear, Miu Miu menswear was also a particular highlight for men’s fashion. However, it debuted only in 1999 in the Fashion Week shows four years after the womenswear line debuted in New York Fashion Week. Similarly to the womenswear, the menswear had a signature youthful look, prominently featuring relaxed tailoring, graphic-printed pieces, and even put men’s shorts on the forefront. It eventually closed down in 2008, when the brand decided to put more focus and emphasis on their womenswear side. Two years prior, both lines debuted in Paris Fashion Week, where the brand continues to show to this day.
A distinct quality of the Miu Miu brand which separates it from both the main Prada line and other fashion brand is its advertising. While Prada advertising has become a prestigious launchpad for a model’s career, it’s the same with Miu Miu, but for emerging, young actresses. Since Drew Barrymore and Chloe Sevigny in the late 90’s, the brand has tapped numerous young actresses to front their ad campaigns. In the early 2000’s, stars like Evan Rachel Wood, Selma Blair and Kirsten Dunst have all starred in a Miu Miu campaign, as well as worn the label on the red carpet. In the 2010’s, they’re now getting Lupita Nyong’o and Elle Fanning as their new faces for their latest collections.
Because of such casual style, the brand has also dominated in street style looks, which emerged within the industry when fashion bloggers became popular. From editors to bloggers, and to celebrities, Miu Miu was a staple in street style clothing. The phenomenon soon became another lucrative form of advertising for the brand, and from starting out as a subsidiary line, it has since become one of the best-selling and hottest brands in the fashion industry today.