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October 18th

Palazzo Regione Lombardia - Auditorium Testori

Piazza Città di Lombardia 1, Milano

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CEO, Prada

Patrizio Bertelli, Chief Executive Officer of Prada S.p.A., was born in 1946 in Arezzo, into a family with a long legal tradition. In 1968, he set up a small company to produce leather belts and handbags in Arezzo, laying the foundations of his future entrepreneurial activity.

In the late 70s, he met Miuccia Prada, who would later become his wife. Bertelli signed a contract with her to produce and distribute leather goods for the Prada label; this was the start of one of the most famous husbandand-wife pairings in the business, the success of which has shaped the history of the Prada Group, turning it into a global powerhouse of the luxury industry.

Patrizio Bertelli's ability to anticipate changes in consumer trends and in the market, and to understand the aspirations driving them, convinced him to rethink Prada's image around the brand's core identity, in order to add a modern dimension to the brand's expertise and long history.

Processes were brought within the company in a ground-breaking business model that gave full control along the entire production line with uncompromised quality and meticulous attention to detail at every step.

The company expanded rapidly through the 80s and 90s, and by 1988 the first Prada women's ready-towear collection had been launched, followed in 1993 by the creation of Miu Miu, a brand with a strong personality and as provocative and sophisticated as it is cool headed and cutting edge.

The Prada menswear collection was unveiled the same year and, in 1999, the company acquired the famous men's luxury footwear brand Church's and in 2001 Car Shoe, the inventor of the original driving moccasin with soles perforated with rubber studs, patented in 1963.

In the meantime, an international expansion plan was also underway to add increasing numbers of Directly Operated Stores to extend the brand's distribution network.

In the late 90s, Patrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada decided to explore the concept of shopping from a different angle and in radical, new ways, working in collaboration with internationally acclaimed architects Rem Koolhaas and Herzog & de Meuron (both winners of the Pritzker Prize).

This period of profound reflection resulted in the “Prada Epicentres”, an unmistakeably different kind of space, veritable architectural icons and landmarks in the city, complementing Prada's network of traditional stores. Driven by a passion for contemporary art and culture, in 1993, Patrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada created the ‘Fondazione Prada’, a non-profit foundation to promote art exhibitions and cultural events of international acclaim, focusing mainly on art, architecture, cinema and philosophy.

A keen sailor, in 1997 Bertelli set up the "Prada Challenge for the America's Cup 2000" team, challenging for the sport's oldest trophy and the most prestigious sailing competition. Prada was four-times sponsor of the Luna Rossa team in the 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2013 editions of the America's Cup, winning the challengers’ selection series in 2000 and making the final in both 2007 and 2013.

Patrizio Bertelli was the first Italian ever to be inducted in the America's Cup Hall of Fame, on 29 June 2012. In July 2014 Luna Rossa submits its fifth challenge to the America's Cup, equaling the historic record of Sir Thomas Lipton, who challenged five times between 1899 and 1930.

The University of Florence awarded Bertelli an honorary degree in business economics in 2000, and Time magazine ranked him and Miuccia Prada as one of the 100 most influential couples in the world in 2006.

Today, the Prada Group comprises Prada, Miu Miu, Church's, Car Shoe and Marchesi 1824 and is present in more than 70 countries with 622 directly-operated stores (at 31 July 2016).