Prada opens house to show off

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Prada opens house to show off


It’s something of a ritual for the glitzy fashion boutiques along Cheongdam-dong avenue. Each takes its turn throwing elegant parties for buyers, celebrities and the press. Last week was Prada Korea’s turn, the company’s first open house since it opened in 1997.
Despite being a household name and having held exclusive events for VIP customers for years, Prada had always eschewed open houses. This time, however, it had reason to celebrate: the global launching of its Heritage Collection and the first visit to Seoul of the chief executive officer for Prada Asia-Pacific.
Inside the flagship store’s purple-and-gold illuminated facade, guests mingled with tall waiters serving champagne, foie gras and brie canapes. The evening’s conversation was focused on what’s new, and nothing was newer than the Heritage Collection, a series of luggage cases, handbags, small leather goods and matching shoes for women. The new line harkens back to the early Prada bags that caught the world’s attention. Made with sturdy fabric, the items sport an elaborate version of the company’s original logo, first used by Mario Prada (his granddaughter, Muccia Prada, is the brand’s current owner).
Not only are the bags new, so are the executives. For the Asian launching events for the collection, Sebastian Suhl, the chief executive officer of Prada Asia-Pacific, visited Seoul with Tomaso Galli, the group communications and external relations director of Prada in Milan.
Mr. Suhl, a native of Washington D.C., had been with Prada in Paris for four years after working in fashion business management in the United States and France. From his new office in the glossy Goucester Tower in central Hong Kong, Mr. Suhl has spent the last six months getting to know the Asia-Pacific region, from China to Australia (Prada Japan is a separate entity).
Also new in line are Yong S. Kim, the new general manager of Prada Korea, who joined in Sept. 2004. Ms. Kim is in charge of 12 boutiques in Korea and collaborates with Prada Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong on sales for eight duty-free stores in Korea. “Over the years, Prada has grown into a total fashion brand,” the brand’s spokesperson said, “and more customers are showing interest in high-end ready-to-wear, but the emphasis for the brand has always been on the handbag collection, which makes a strong foundation for the Prada business.”

by Ines Cho
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