To the fashionista, Prada is a holy grail. But a Prada store on a desert highway, literally in the middle of nowhere in West Texas? No, it’s not a mirage. There really is a Prada store on U.S. Highway 90.
Peer through the store window and you might notice something is off kilter with only single shoes and a few purses on display. Ok, the whole thing is odd, a juxtaposition really like the fashion spreads in magazines. You always see the glammed out model sporting the latest couture fashions against ruggedly beautiful landscapes as backdrops. It’s always in the name of art and so is Prada Marfa. Here’s the catch – the store is never open.
My friend Carroll and I went in search of this high-class store that you could say has hit legendary status in the fashion, art, and pop culture worlds. It’s called Prada Marfa, but it’s not really in Marfa. It’s about 26 miles from Marfa in a tiny dot on the map kind of town of Valentine with a population of about 130. Prada Marfa is not a store at all. It’s an art installation created in 2005 by the duo of Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. They created a one-room white-stucco-wall replica of Prada stores you would find from Milan to Tokyo.
The shoes are all right foot size 37 shoes and the bottoms of the purses have been cut out, along with GPS trackers placed in them. It’s because shortly after the art installation opened, a guy broke in and took all the loot. Over the years, the unique roadside attraction has weathered more than just the harsh West Texas weather with multiple vandalism and graffiti acts. Just like Elizabeth Taylor had to do as Leslie Benedict in the famous West Texas flick “Giant,” Prada Marfa has toughened up in the desert to withstand the elements as true Texas rancher – tough as nails on the outside, but inviting, humble, and gracious on the inside. A West Texas rancher keeps standing no matter what, just as Prada Marfa keeps living on.
Like a strikingly gorgeous woman dressed head to toe in Prada, the fusion of pop and land art rising out of the desolate and flat as a pancake landscape along U.S. Highway 90 will stop traffic in Far West Texas.
I had to channel my inner Beyonce (she set off a social media craze with a post in from of Prada Marfa in 2012) and strike a pose (or two!) in front of Prada Marfa.