Prada’s Design Director to Step Back from Company


Italian designer Fabio Zambernardi, a key deputy of Miuccia Prada since the 1990s, is preparing to step back from his role at Prada Group at the end of 2023, sources directly familiar with the matter said. The Spring/Summer shows for the group’s Prada and Miu Miu brands are likely to be Zambernardi’s last.

Zambernardi started at Prada in the 1980s, eventually rising to lead its shoe division in 1997 before being named design director for both Prada and Miu Miu in 2002.

A behind-the-scenes force, Zambernardi helped to shape Prada’s trademark aesthetic, melding improbable prints with rigorous cuts, and has long shared Mrs. Prada’s fascination with camp and kitsch femininity, as well as her obsession with uniforms.

His studio is known for taking inspirations that flirt with the outlandish and ugly and transforming them into wearable, covetable products that allow wearers to simultaneously demonstrate both mastery of and disregard for conventional good taste.

Prada’s business has been on a tear since the pandemic. At the group’s flagship Prada brand, the creative dialogue between Mrs. Prada’s studio and co-creative director Raf Simons has resulted in intriguing runway outings as well as sell-out products. Sister label Miu Miu, too, has seen its sales surge as recent collections focused the brand’s message on youthful, confrontational twists on collegiate and office garb.

Prada Group sales grew 20 percent to €2.2 billion ($2.4 billion) in the first six months of the year, with Miu Miu’s business jumping an astonishing 50 percent, the company announced in July.

Prada Group declined to comment on Zambernardi’s departure.

The group has fought to retain the key executive in recent months and wants to keep the door open for his return, potentially framing his departure as a year-long sabbatical, two of the sources said.

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