Italian fashion designer Angela Missoni is heir to the one of the world’s most famous fashion brands and has emerged as a successful designer in her own right. She was in Sydney last week to launch the Missoni for Target collection. She talks to me about family, her typical day and the secret to her success. Also see the behind the scenes of the interview on my new show Fashion Bloggers, Wednesday’s at 8:30pm on the Style network.
What are you doing while you’re in Australia?
I’m doing a lot of interviews [laughs]. I’m meeting a lot of people. We went to Bondi Beach, the zoo and Balmoral Beach.
In your words, how would you describe the Missoni signature style?
What I love is that there is no age for Missoni. So it’s trans-generational and I really love just that everybody, every age can find something in the Missoni collection.
Did you always know you were going to go into the family business?
No, I didn’t know. My priority was really to have a family and to have my children. I really thought that I was never going to work in this company because it’s not my thing. My father said: “What would you like to do?” I said: “I would like to design jewellery.” He realised that I needed to go and do my things to get the self-confidence, but then three years after, I realised I really wanted to do fashion and I asked my family if I could develop my own line. So I started [the] Angela Missoni line. But then, collection after collection, I could see my mum was very impressed by what I was doing so she came and she said, “Have you ever thought of doing the main line?”
Missoni has been such an iconic brand for so many years. What do you think is the secret to your success?
I really think that my parents invented something in fashion. They really invented a style. I don’t think there are many labels that are immediately recognisable. For me, of course, I never look back in my work. I know the archives by heart because I was there. Maybe that’s the secret. So I have the heritage but I always look forward, so I’m not afraid of adding new things and maybe that’s what’s keeping the line alive after 61 years.
Is it ever a challenge to push the boundaries in fashion while keeping that Missoni heritage style?
Probably, yes. At the beginning, I was asking myself: “Am I really without fear?” But I have very big shoulders and I’d just go and take the responsibility [laughs].
What inspired you to design for Target?
It was to bring some fun. It’s another occasion to have fun with the Missoni patterns. And I think that Australians have the outdoor lifestyle so it was a good occasion also to make a collection with many pieces that could go outdoors. I always thought that fashion is not a question of price. I think there is a wrong perception about fashion. In a way, everybody knows that we can find fashion at every price because even if you have that luxury bag, you aren’t necessarily fashionable.
Who or what inspires you when you’re creating your collection?
My daughters do inspire me a lot. But really, everything that I see. I can be inspired by the sunset there, by the shapes here. I take lots of photos and. lately, I do think that with the new phones, I do have very strong diary of images.
Is social media an important part of your business?
It is. I remember the first time I realised how important was social media. This must have been five years ago now, probably, when I did the first campaign with the family with Juergen Teller. And that’s the moment I realised how much the social media was starting to be so strong and so influential. Because that campaign really did the tour of the world.
What is a typical working day for you?
I wake up early. I go to the factory. The big part of my job is to follow the collections. But the one good thing is that we do have a good habit of making a break for lunch. So around 1:30, I go home – either to my house or to my mum’s house – where I can find my family, and often, I invite friends for lunch so I get the chance to see them.
What it’s like to be at a Missoni family dinner?
It’s loud [laughs]. All the kids – all my children, my nephews – they have a very strong bond and they’re used to spending holidays together. Of course, we do have those strong moments like Christmas or birthdays or even events of the company; they become events of the family. So that keeps them all together. They always tease each other, like little kids again.
Did you always know that Margherita [her daughter] would follow in your footsteps?
No. I knew she was very creative. She had a very creative talent, in very different fields, because she could write very well. But then she studied philosophy and she wanted to be an actress. She went to New York. And then one day she got back and said, “You know, Mum, I realise I want to come back to Europe because either I come back now or I don’t come back any more and I know I want to have a family and I want my children to grow the way I grew up in Italy. It’s the best place in the world to live. I love acting, but this is not the life I want to live.’ So she started to work for the company, as an ambassador. But one day she said to me, “I would like to start to work in the company”. So, at 26, she started [desiging] eyewear, bags, shoes, accessory, the bathing suit lines, which is a very important line for us.
WE WENT TO Sheraton on The Park, Sydney CBD
WE ATE A fruit platter and selection of pastries.
WE DRANK Freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee.
ANGELA WORE Missoni, head-to-toe.