I have been somewhat MIA, or AWOL, or just quiet (whatever you prefer calling it) in the past couple of weeks. I won't bore you with the details but try and picture a swirling storm of dragging interior styling projects with panic-inducing deadlines, mixed with a 4-bedroom house slowly but surely starting to fall apart (six weeks of mysterious ceiling leaks leading to ceiling collapse, leading to full roof replacement. Big Sigh...) with a little bit of toddler bug sickness sprinkled on top and it should give you a glimpse of the current state of my sanity.
Things seem to have settled back to normal though (they always do, in the end, don't they?! If only someone could tell us while we're in the middle of the storm, it would save a lot of tears and hair pulling...) and January is finally behind us, so I thought I would ramble about something nice, cheerful and eye pleasing this week: Prada. Not fashwan Prada, mind, but more like arty-arty Prada.
You may have spotted my Prada Marfa artwork on this blog and more times that I'd like to admit on my social media channels. I bought it a few years ago and get asked on a daily basis, either on Instagram or via email, where I got it from so I am officially giving this item the 'deserves its own blog post' status. Just because, well I am the blog boss here so I get to make all the decisions.
The Story behind Prada Marfa
If you read this blog regularly, you know I do like a little story behind an object in my house. And this one, believe me, has a pre-tty good one! In case you're not familiar with what this Prada Marfa sign stands for, it's based on a 'mock' Prada store located just a few miles outside a tiny town in the middle of the West Texas desert called Marfa. The middle of the West Texas desert isn’t the first place you’d expect to find a Prada shop, I know, it is indeed totally random. But bear with me.
The brainchild of Berlin-based artists Elmgreen and Dragset (hint: they're uber cool), Prada Marfa is not an actual shop but a 'pop architectural land art project.' Basically, a fake luxury fashion shop with fake products (well, almost fake: in order to prevent looting, the bags have no bottoms and the shoes are all for right feet only), with no actual customers but visitors, all set in the middle of the desert. I am sure you get the artistic irony here. Although there is no actual commercial relationship between the artists and the fashion house, I read that Miuccia Prada herself (major all time #girlcrush here by the way) was not only consulted on the project, allowing the artists to use the Prada logo, but apparently, was even involved in the choice of shoes and bags to stock the store.
Prada Marfa’s opening took place in October 2005, and has since become a viral Pinterest hit thanks to a poster on Gossip Girl (more on that below), and an Instagram 'jumping selfie' hotspot for visitors from all over the world after a visit from Beyoncé.
So what about the significance of the 1837 miles art print I own? Well, It is basically the distance to the Prada New york store directing people to its location. You may have spotted it a few years ago on Gossip Girl: Lily Bass owned an illuminated acrylic boxed version in her New York loft. I will admit that it's where I spotted it for the first time too.
There was a slight bump in the road back in 2014, when, after eight happy years in the Texan desert, the state's department of transportation deemed it an illegal advertising sign (despite Prada not actually commissioning the project themselves) and threatened to get it demolished. I got really upset when I found out, mainly because I still haven't managed to make the trip to Marfa to see the art installation with my own eyes (and take the obligatory selfie in front of it). I even joined the Save Prada Marfa Facebook campaign hoping it would make a difference. Thankfully it did, and the Texan authorities came to their senses and announced at the end of 2014 that the structure would be reclassified as a museum, with the Prada Marfa as its only exhibit. And therefore, allowed it to remain there. There is a Prada god somewhere.
Where to get your Prada Marfa sign
Gossip Girl helped put Prada Marfa on the map (pun intended) and has made it much easier to find affordable versions of the sign online. I wish I could afford to have it wall mounted in an illuminated plexiglass box, like Lily Bass's art collector character, for maximum impact but in order to avoid remortgaging the house, I had to settle on a stretched canvas print. The design is nonetheless striking in my option. I had mine made via art.co.uk for just under £200. Click here for the full details and price.
There are also a bunch of other options at different prices on Etsy. Be careful, some are not original and therefore not using the original logo.
I also love this marble and gold version. You can buy the digital version online here and have it printed and framed in any printing shop, wherever you are based.
Finally, I found this clever option if you're looking for something cheap and cheerful. Acrylic wall decal letters you can just stick directly to your wall. All for under £30... Also available from Etsy.
Hope you're not Prada Marfa'd up yet. Happy Shopping!