The notoriously straight-shooting and often volatile chief executive of Prada, Patrizio Bertelli, is on the cover of the March issue of WSJ., out this Saturday. He is profiled along with wife Miuccia Prada in an article discussing among many things the couple's 30-year-long relationship, Prada's initial public offering, the company's debt build-up as a result of acquisitions in the 1990s, and the current household controversy over internet strategies and whether or not to dress celebrities.
The article opens with Bertelli shouting at Neiman Marcus' 72-year-old chairman, Burt Tansky, about how the Dallas-based department store displays its Prada merchandise. But thing really get interesting when the interviewer inquires about the brand's internet plans and brings up a recent U.S. newspaper article suggesting Prada was late to the online world compared with brands like Burberry. Miuccia Prada's reaction:
"I think it's bulls-. Why does showing a photo of someone wearing a trench coat online mean being open to the world? What's that got to do with anything?"
While Bertelli is trying to convince Prada to interact more online—both with bloggers and fans—she is adimentely opposed to Twitter and feels there something fundamentally wrong with the way other designers "throw random answers out there." Bertelli acknowledges hers is an "elitist response" to a "democratic" medium.
The article goes on to reveal another ongoing dispute over celebrity dressing: "He says that we are snobs and that we don't understand pop culture," Prada says.
When planning for the upcoming year, Bertelli's focus seems to be on store expansions and opening new boutiques in order to lessen Prada's dependance on U.S. wholesale businesses, like that of Mr. Tansky's. The complete article will be on newsstands March 13.