Missoni, a family business
In today’s frenetic fashion world, there’s something charming about a family business. Launched by husband and wife duo Ottavio and Rosita Missoni in Italy in the 1950s, the Missoni label began as a knitwear specialist. Those trademark zigzag prints were born and became a stamp of the glamorous boho vibe in the Seventies. These days, the brand bearing their last name has grown into a global multimillion enterprise. That’s not to say that it’s not still all about family. Their talented daughter Angela took over the creative reins in 1992 and has given the flagging company a much needed boost.
Under her steerage, Angela has lended a more modern and creative approach to the knits, but has also expanded to other textiles, methods and categories. For the younger set, there’s the more gently priced diffusion line M Missoni. Meanwhile, the swimwear collection has become something of a celebrity and model favorite: Rihanna, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Doutzen Kroes have all been spotted in the mare pieces. Those nesting, albeit luxuriously, can stock up on Missoni home decor, including a dinnerware set named after Angela’s daughter Margherita. Speaking of the 28-year old Missoni heiress, Margherita, who is also the brand’s ambassador, has been increasing her profile within the company.
At the heart of it all, there’s still the bourgeois bohemian feel underlining each collection. And it’s still a family affair – Ottavio just turned 90 this year.
Missoni Women F-W 11-12
For those who prefer to see life via rose-colored lenses, the Fall 2011 Missoni collection had plenty to offer. The pastel palette and long, lush knits gave the runway a youthful and dreamy vibe. Naturally, there were the house’s signature zig-zags, such as the opening look in head-to-toe layered prints: a v-neck sweater, button down and louche maxi skirt in a melange of cotton candy colors. There’s a new proportion at play too. Sweeping cardigans capped off roomy languid long dresses cut lean through the bodice but then swirling at the ankles. The colors, particularly in shades of orange sherbet ombre and a lovely periwinkle, added to the effect, as if the softened hues were blurred from a lovely daze.
Designer Angela Missoni also showed her deft hand at texture play. Cropped furs were featured in an unexpected chick yellow, while a pair of loose pantalons on the model Lindsey Wixson were cut in a minty velvet. If it all felt very youthful, that’s because the designer was inspired by her daughters: Margherita and Teresa Missoni. Complementing various renditions of the house zig-zag, there were also some pretty florals done up in a light silk chiffon and mixed in were skirts embroidered with illustrations by the artist Tiana Langdon. If the house seemed to be hitting its stride, it was at least in part to the meld of generations. Angela closed the show by walking out with her father and brand co-founder Ottavio.
Milan-born and raised, Margherita Missoni has since moved to New York City to study philosophy, pursue acting and to find her way back to the family company. Here, the brand’s global ambassador chats with FashionSalade.com on her personal style, creative aspirations and current obsessions.
FashionSalade: Did you always know you would work for the family business?
Margherita Missoni: Clothing and design have been part of my daily life since I was born. I think at one point I just needed to get away from it all – probably to have a chance to understand who I was as a single individual. While I was studying philosophy and acting, I thought that that was going to be my life, I had moved to a different continent and all. Although even then, if I subconsciously pictured myself in my 40s, I’d be in Sumirago with a piece of zig-zag fabric in my hand.
You have this distinctive, 1970s boho style that’s kind of perfect for being the face of Missoni. What or who are your personal style inspirations?
My dressing is instinctive and playful. Most public people nowadays are dressed by professional stylists and I think you can really tell that they’re not picking their own clothes. They don’t look as if they owned the clothes they’re wearing and that’s not appealing to me. The people that inspire me are my friends and people that I work with. I am influenced by everything I see, everything I’ve seen growing up and that obviously has a lot to do with the Missoni style in all its different sides. That includes places such as the Istrian coast, artistic figures like Sonia Delaunay, activities such as playing tennis or cooking in the open air.
On another creative note, you also had a daily style blog for Vogue UK back in December. Was that a fun experience to be blogging?
Yeah it was! I’m a bit too busy to be running a blog daily, but doing it for a specific period like that was quite fun. In the morning, a girl would knock on the office door and ask to take a picture of my look. The people I had meetings with thought I was a weirdo and I’d have to explain! After that experience, I began to tweet and I still do @mmmargherita.
Speaking of online, what are some of your favorite online fashion sites?
Which do you prefer: iPhone, iPad or BlackBerry?
I have them all! I travel too much to only use an iPhone; it’s so expensive to use it abroad! But BlackBerries don’t last very long for me. I think I over-use them, because they start going nuts. They never last more than 3-4 months. IPad is genius, but has same issues as the iPhone.
Museo del 900 in Milan: It recently opened and it’s exactly what the city deserved and was lacking.
Nutriceuticals: Take vitamins instead of wearing creams.
Masks from Oman.
If not fashion, what other creative field are you interested in?
Writing and acting are activities that occupied my life at different stages. I am quite sure I’ll go back to writing soon enough.
What creative person or group do you admire?
I admire my grandpa and my sister. They’re both some of the most creative people I’ve ever met. I admire Giambattista Valli, Patti Smith and Francesco Clemente. I sat at dinner with all three of them one time and felt like they were blowing me away. I deeply admire and miss Dennis Hopper.
With summer around the corner, any exciting plans?
I’m going for 4-5 days to Tangier in July, and then hopefully, in August, 10 days discovering the Sicilian mainland on a Harley and a few more days in Iceland.
A Harley? Sounds adventurous. What about some of your favorite, go-to vacation spots?
Sardinia, because I grew up vacationing there. It’s where I still spend my week of family holiday. Every single smell, taste and rock brings back memories.
Missoni in the blogging sphere
It’s all about the fashion multi-platform. Get your on-the-go Missoni fix with the brand’s mobile download at Missoni Apps. In other buzzy Internet news, the house’s Spring-Summer 2011 campaign, shot by Juergen Teller, features a roster of famous and fabulous friends including Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester, Tatiana Santo Domingo, Eugenie Niarchos and Jaquetta Wheeler. Accordingly, there’s a print-tastic accompanying video where Margherita’s grandmother Rosita Missoni gets her dance on.Missoni Summer 2011 Adv campaign Family anf Friends by Juergen Teller
By: Bee-Shyuan Chang