What does it take to get a city girl (Detroit to be exact) out in the middle of the West Texas desert? One word: Beyonce. The first time I heard about the small town of Marfa, TX was in 2012 when pictures surfaced on Beyonce's Tumblr of her random stop there.
Like most people, I instantly wondered 'What in the world a Prada store was doing in the middle of nowhere?'. Well, if you're wondering, the store is considered living art. It is meant to be an exact replica of a the Prada boutiques found throughout luxurious cities of the world like New York and Milan. The artists, Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, originally called the "living sculpture" an "experiment" on how gentrification can fuel our consumer obsessed culture. It was never meant to be maintained. Rather, the artists wanted nature to have it's way with their experiment.
However, since it's debut in 2005, the piece has become such a tourist attraction. So much so that people drive (the nearest airport is over an hour away in El Paso) to the town from all over the world just to see the mock store full of donated merchandise from Miuccia Prada herself. According to Vogue:
"Prada Marfa has become such a target for vandalism that the spirit of the sculpture has changed. Within days of its unveiling in 2005, a thief broke the windows and ran off with the loot. The bags were replaced with GPS trackers, and their bottoms were cut out to discourage further theft. Stricter security measures were added, such a camera and an alarm. The sculpture’s safety was entrusted to a local in the nearby town of Valentine named Boyd Elders, and the local sheriff was asked to keep his eye out for any trouble." I've always wanted to see it in person and do the infamous "Beyonce pose" in front of the piece. I read different accounts of the mystical place and decided to make it my 27th birthday trip. Imagine the excitement on my boyfriend's face when I brought up the idea of an 8 hour road trip to the middle of nowhere to take a picture like Bey. But, it was sooooo worth it.
Here's What I Know:
- Prada Marfa is actually in Valentine,TX which is an even smaller town about 30 minutes from Marfa (population 2,100)
- Don't be fooled by the reports that the sculpture is off of Highway 90. Highway 90 is actually a two lane street that is scary as heck a night. We saw a baby wolf...two of them actually! (Now if it was a real wolf or some other wolf like species is up for debate, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it)
- Surprise: do not drive this route at night if you do not have to! There's limited lighting, civilization is few and far in between the small towns of Alpine, Marfa and Valentine. Oh, and remember this "highway" is only 2 lanes with mountains and ranches on each side for your viewing pleasure.
- It's hot in Texas this time of year and it's even hotter in the desert. The temperature was anywhere between 100-110
- Buns N Roses was the only place we actually stopped in Marfa. They had some pretty good food and were fairly welcoming. The owner, who also served us and rang us up, even politely asked if we were visitors! (I'm sure it wasn't hard to tell)
- Marfa has one stop light, no police, and everything closes before 9pm for the most part.
- Prada Marfa only features one right shoe on display of each style and the hand bags all have the bottoms removed. This was put in place after the store was robbed just days after opening in 2005
- It really is a mystical place. After researching it for over 5 years, it was kind of unreal to see it in person. I'll cherish my experience there forever. Perhaps I'll go back one day to explore the city of Marfa in all its quirkiness.
Buns N Roses ladies
-XOXO Until NextTime, Ash :-)