Indefinite expansion represents a crisis: in the typical case it spells the end of the brand as a creative enterprise and the beginning of the brand as purely financial enterprise.
Expansion can be measured on two levels: quantity and quality. On the level of numbers, there are simply more and more Prada stores; on the level of scale, Prada is about tot launch a number of special epicenter stores.
The danger of the large number is repetition: each additional store reduces aura and contributes to a sense of familiarity. The danger of the larger scale is the Flagship syndrome: a megalomaniac accumulation of the obvious that eliminates the last elements of surprise and mystery that cling to the brand, imprisoning it in a ‘definitive’ identity.
But expansion can also be used for a strategy of permanent redefinition of the brand. By introducing two kinds of stores – the typical and the unique – the epicenter store becomes a device that renews the brand by counteracting and destabilizing any received notion of what Prada is, does, or will become. The epicenter store functions as a conceptual window: a medium to broadcast future directions that positively charges the larger mass of typical stores.
Edited by Michael Kubo
Miuccia Prada, Patrizio Bertelli, Fondazione Prada, 2001