Fabio Zambernardi has been design director for the Miu Miu and Prada brands since November 2002. Responsible for the collection and concept development, he oversees all the strategic tasks that retain the coherence between image and products within the collection. He also supports the brands’ image communication. He started at the company as a collaborator in 1981 and was promoted to shoe design director in 1997, then design fashion coordinator in 1999.
A largely ‘behind the scenes’ figure, Zambernardi has played a crucial role in Prada’s ascent to the upper echelons of high fashion. Known for his “maximalist, but with simplicity” philosophy, he has also styled for AnOther magazine with photographer Tim Walker and said that his inspiration comes mainly from a preoccupation with “ugliness”. His styling is often unsettling and gives the sense of something being just a bit ‘off’, although Zambernardi always balances this with a sense of art and commerciality – even banality.
His biggest challenge, he said, is to balance commerciality and creativity. “To be contemporary, modern, I never know really what it means to be fashionable, a word that I find terrible and boring. The challenge is to please others, but it is interesting to see how the general taste evolves and for this reason the difficult is to surprise the public with things and ideas that they don’t know yet of wanting them.”
Zambernardi is based in Milan and also collaborates on costumes with theatre actor and writer Filippo Timi.