Prada in the desert?

It has become a cult destination – and even Beyonce and The Simpsons are fascinated!
In the middle of the West Texas desert you find this fully stocked Prada store. 

Prada! In the middle of nowhere?’ So remarks Marge Simpson in an episode of The Simpsons that made a real-life but fake Prada store in Texas even more irresistible as a photo-op pitstop, following a serious boost in its allure by Beyonce, who posted a picture of herself jumping in front of it to Instagram.

The creativity of Scandinavian duo Elmgreen & Dragset gave life in 2005 to the Prada Marfa permanent artistic installation located in the middle of the Chihuahua desert, 37 miles from Marfa.

A faux store built following Prada’s boutiques aesthetic codes and provocatively conceived to naturally deteriorate with time without undergoing any external repair or restoration.  

The bizarre ‘Prada store’ sits by the road in the middle of the West Texas desert and contains genuine items from the 2005 Prada collection, including 20 pairs of heels and six handbags. But you can’t buy them.

The store – called Prada Marfa after the nearby town of Marfa in the Chihuahuan desert (although it’s technically in Valentine) – is actually a permanent art installation, built in 2005 by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, two Scandinavian artists based in Berlin.

The Art Production Fund (APF) and Ballroom Marfa, a centre of contemporary art and culture, helped finance the project, while head designer of Prada, Miuccia Prada, handpicked the merchandise for the store’s interior.

She also gave permission to Elmgreen and Dragset to use the Prada logo.

It was originally built as a protest against the high-priced commercialism that was gentrifying U.S. cities in the 1990s. The artwork was to disappear over time and erode into the landscape before anyone could even notice it.

However, rather than fading away, the fake Prada store has been a runaway success.

Beyonce posted her Instagram picture in 2014, with no comment.

So far, it’s had over 500,000 likes.

Prada Marfa’s Simpsons cameo came in 2019, with Homer relieving himself around the back of the building after Marge’s exclamation, claiming ‘it’s on the side of the road, so by definition it is a bathroom’.

The months will be January, February, June, July, August and September, but might be extended.



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