Let's take a step back. Prada was founded by two brothers in Milan in 1913 as a leather goods shop. While Prada has matured into the large luxury fashion house it is today, it holds on tightly to the quality craftsmanship that has been core to the brand since the beginning. Each generation has brought a wave of growth through fresh ideas and design innovation. But the new leadership of Miuccia Prada, granddaughter to one of the founders, in collaboration with Patrizio Bertelli in 1987 marked a major growth period for the brand.
Patrizio kept direct control over production, ensuring quality, while Miuccia’s avant-garde perspectives and designs have shaped trends for the global fashion industry. Soon thereafter Miuccia designed the classic Prada handbag, an instant success, followed by the women's ready-to-wear collection. In 1919 Prada was named the Official Supplier to the Italian Royal Household, that's a BFD! You can spot the coat of arms for the The House of Savoy, one of the oldest royal families in the world, and the knotted rope design in Prada’s logo.
As experts on luxury authentication, we’ll take you through some of the key ways to identify a genuine Prada Saffiano leather handbag.
1. EXTERIOR MATERIAL
Prada uses a number of different materials and some are easier to replicate than others. Saffiano leather is made from the highest quality calf leather, coated in wax and pressed with the classic cross hatch print. Pay close attention to the pattern of the embossed texture to identify a copy. Authentic Saffiano leather should be stiff, durable, and will hold its own shape.
A variety of linings are used inside Prada bags, but the most common is the jacquard nylon lining. The pattern inside of an authentic bag will be alternating rows of rope motif and the Prada logo. Note that every other line with the Prada logo will appear upside down.
Stitching on Prada Saffiano handbags should be straight and thick, with each stitch slightly angled. Many fakes will have stitching that is thin, crooked, or not angled.
4. Logo Plate
Exterior Logo - Prada bags are easily identifiable by the signature triangular logo on the outside of a bag. The metal used on the logo plate should be consistent with the rest of the hardware. The “R” in “PRADA” should have a curved front leg and the logo should read “Milano” not “Milan.” Older Saffiano bags have a colored lacquer background that matches the bag’s coloring, while newer Saffiano bags will have a layer of leather.
Interior Logo - The interior logo plate is rectangular and has a lacquer background to match the bag. Sometimes it will be stamped with “MADE IN ITALY,” which should be clean and legible. If the stamp is missing, there will most likely be a black fabric tag that states this inside of the interior zip pocket.
Prada uses two different tones for hardware - gold and silver - but will never mix the tones on one bag. It’s normal for the gold tone to tarnish over time. Prada typically stamps all hardware. Zippers, snaps, clasps, buckles, and feet should all be stamped with PRADA in the proper font. Zippers should have the logo on one side and the zipper company on the backside (“riri” or “lampo”).
6. Factory Code
All authentic Prada handbags come with a factory code, a small square white tag with a sequence of numbers on it. Note that some fake Prada bags will come with a factory code, so if one is present that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s real.