A Prada Store in the Middle of the Desert?

In a desolate strip, just off Route 90 in West Texas, near the city of Marfa, lies a tiny Prada store. On the front of the store there are two large windows through which you can see a collection of Prada shoes and handbags, but there’s no functional door to allow you inside. That’s because the store isn’t a retail store, but a permanent art installation by Scandinavian artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. Although Prada didn’t endorse the installation, the company’s chairman and owner, Miuccia Prada, permitted the artists to use her brand’s logo. She even picked out and provided the shoes and handbags from the fall/winter 2005 collection to be displayed inside. Known as Prada Marfa, the $80,000 project was paid for by the New York nonprofit Art Production Fund in collaboration with Ballroom Marfa, a local contemporary art gallery. The 15X25-foot adobe building is made of biodegradable materials and was originally intended to never be repaired, allowing it to slowly degrade back into the natural landscape. However, only a few days after its opening, the store was broken into and the goods were stolen. The sculpture was quickly repaired — this time with stronger windows to prevent forced entry — repainted, and restocked. To discourage theft, the six handbags inside have no bottoms and all of the 20 pairs of shoes are right-footed.