Inside Prada’s Subversive, Sustainable Debut Jewellery Collection

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Prada Eternal Gold
Prada Fine Jewellery Campaign featuring Amanda GormanPhotography by David Sims

Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons’ debut jewellery collection for the Italian house mixes sustainability with metaphor, in exquisite, highly covetable pieces made from 100 per cent recycled gold

Aside from her trailblazing work as founder and creative director of Miu Miu, co-chief executive officer of the Prada Group, and as co-creative director of Prada (where she was joined by Raf Simons in 2020) – two separate, trendsetting brands with a similar aptitude for quiet subversion and intellectualised clothing – Miuccia Prada’s own personal style is the subject of much adoration. One glance at @whatmiuccia, an Instagram account dedicated to the designer’s outfits, confirms her innate sense of style; she’s pictured strolling through the 2018 Met Gala in a yeti-like, neon green fringed look, sitting backstage at a 1990s Miu Miu show with a martini in hand, or enveloped snugly in a double-breasted wool coat in the snow for the Autumn/Winter 2021 issue of AnOther Magazine, shot by Jamie Hawkesworth..

Whether dressed down backstage, or dressed up for a night out in the public eye, it’s rare to see Mrs Prada without some kind of exquisite jewellery on; she’s known to favour strings of pearls, gold arm cuffs, dainty drop earrings and even a twinkly, spiral diadem. And now, with Prada having launched its first ever fine jewellery collection, Mrs Prada has turned her eye for jewellery into something that can be enjoyed by all. Titled Prada Eternal Gold, the debut collection features nearly 50 pieces – a mix of ready-to-buy and made-to-order – and is, remarkably, made of 100 per cent recycled gold. 

At a press preview in the opulent, 19th-century shopping gallery Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, Prada’s newly installed jewellery director Timothy Iwata – who previously worked at Cartier – walked guests through the collection, which was housed in the flawless, mint green space of the Osservatorio Fondazione Prada (snacks included zingy vegetable juice topped with gold leaf, and triangular biscuits that mimicked the Prada logo).

Iwata says that when he first sat down with Mrs. Prada and Simons to talk about what the brand’s jewellery would look like, the pair took things straight to the drawing board – a marker of their conceptual, probing approach to design. “What is jewellery?” they asked. “What are the cliches? What is timelessness?” Their aim, Iwata says, was to make jewellery relevant in today’s world.

Just like much of Prada’s previous design output – where something universal, like a tank top, is subtly elevated – the Eternal Gold jewellery collection appears simple and unfussy upon first glance; but look a little deeper, and there are knowing twists. A large gold heart pendant hung off a black velvet choker, for example, is an exercise in Prada-ness. “Everybody sells love in the industry,” says Iwata, “but we want to have a Prada perspective on love, on the heart.” The top half of the heart pendant is bulbous, almost bursting, but the triangular, bottom half is razor sharp – Iwata explains that this is emblematic of the difficulties of love, while also being a play on the Prada triangle (the collection includes more obvious reference to the Prada triangle, in jewelled earrings, rings and more chokers too). The snake – another common jewellery motif – is reimagined as a coiled cuff for the upper arm, having shed its skin and become smooth; a play on the idea of transformation and rebirth. These pieces are worn by Amanda Gorman, Maya Hawke and Somi Jeon – three creative women of the moment – in a minimalist campaign shot by David Sims.

Sustainability and transparency is at the heart of Prada Eternal Gold collection, with the inclusion of authentication cards and scannable chip technology which traces a piece’s journey from inception to completion. “The intention is really to engage in a conversation and invite our clients to be educated about the impact of jewellery,” Iwata explains. “We want to drive systemic change in the industry.” 

All of the pieces are designed to be genderless – “our customers are fearless,” says Iwata – and can be worn on an everyday basis (or even used as ornamental objects – an expensive paperweight, if you will), although the brand aims to do just one jewellery collection per year. “Prada doesn’t follow rules,” says Iwata. “We create our rules.”

Prada Eternal Gold is available to buy now.