Home > Style > Fashion > Knitted to perfection: Angela Missoni talks brand expansion and the Indian luxury market
Knitted to perfection: Angela Missoni talks brand expansion and the Indian luxury market

Iconic Italian label Missoni turned 65 this year, but that’s not the only reason the brand’s celebrating. In April, Francesco Maccapani Missoni, creative director Angela Missoni’s son, launched ‘The Missoni Family Cookbook’. Then in June, it was made known that the brand was selling a minority stake to the private equity firm FS Mid-Market Growth Equity Fund, in a bid to expand. Most recently, Margherita Maccapani Missoni, Angela’s daughter was chosen to helm M Missoni, the maison’s diffusion line targetted at young women. 

All these developments have taken place under the aegis of Angela, daughter of Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, who established the knitwear brand in 1953. Angela joined in 1997, and is credited with giving the label a distinct luxe-bohemian image without compromising its essence. She infused it with a riot of striking hues, and experimented with cashmere and wool to create lighter, more sustainable fabrics. In 1998, she launched M Missoni.

Under her, Missoni spread across menswear, swimwear, home and fragrances. She collaborated with Converse in 2008, and the association with Target in 2011 saw the 400-piece line sell out in record time. She further gave Missoni’s image a makeover when she hired veteran photographers Mario Testino and powerhouse stylists like Carine Roitfeld, and roped in supermodels like Gisele Bündchen, Kate Moss, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner for campaigns. Over the years, Angela ensured the brand changed with the times, and in an ever-evolving market, managed to keep it independent, and the creative and financial reigns within the family. Lifestyle Asia spoke with the fashion matriarch on Missoni’s legacy and how the brand has managed to stay relevant. 

Kendall Jenner walks the runway at the Missoni SS 2019 show. Image: Courtesy Pietro D'aprano/Getty Images
Kendall Jenner walks the runway at the Missoni SS 2019 show. Image: Courtesy Pietro D'aprano/Getty Images
Model Bella Hadid walks the runway at the Missoni FW 2018 show Image: Courtesy Venturelli/WireImage
Model Bella Hadid walks the runway at the Missoni FW 2018 show Image: Courtesy Venturelli/WireImage
You have helmed Missoni for more than two decades now. What’s your creative process like when you start working on a new collection?  

I have always preferred to look forward. Even when I am working on a new collection, I prepare the mood board and then link it back to what I already know. When I am researching, I never look at Missoni archives. I have a photographic memory – I remember every detail of the shows I have seen since I was a child. Also, I was brought up very free, so as an artistically inclined person, I was allowed to incorporate anything in my inspiration board that intrigued me. So be it design or a mode of communication, I was allowed to try new things.  

In a market driven by trend cycles, how do you retain the brand’s heritage?  

I have never been a follower of trends; I have been raised to cultivate individuality through work and make my own path. I know my parents were revolutionaries in what they did and they launched an iconic brand. It is great to see in the past 65 years Missoni has been a trendsetter and has given so many iconic fashion moments.  

What made you move away from the traditional fashion cycle and showcase flash collections through the year?  

We are always on a lookout for new ways of presenting a collection – that’s the reason why we chose to do flash collections. Today, it is all about presentation and how we can appeal to people in different ways. We are open to exploring new ways to grow.

From L-R:  Jennifer Missoni, Angela Missoni, Ottavio Missoni, Margherita Maccapani Missoni, Marco Missoni, Rosita Missoni, Teresa Maccapani Missoni, Luca Missoni, Giacommo Missoni and Francesco Maccapani Missoni. Image: Courtesy Darren Gerrish/WireImage
M Missoni was launched in 1998 and now your daughter Margherita will be taking over it. What can we expect?

I aim for M Missoni to have a strong voice, affordable pieces and a contemporary point of view. It would be lovely to see M Missoni through a younger lens. As a brand, we stand for the free spirit, and with this line, I want to see what new things we can try. Margherita’s first collection comes out in Spring 2020, and I see a full range of products.  She is extremely passionate about fashion and just like me, she is also very related to her roots. I would like to see Missoni through her eyes. We are also thinking of a new marketing project to position her upcoming collection.  

Models walk the runway at the Missoni FW 2017 show Image: Courtesy Jacopo Raule/Getty Images
What is it like to work with family members in a creative environment? 

It’s a challenge, but that’s the only way I know. Of course, there are a number of opinions you have to listen to as everyone has their own vision, but then you have to support each other. I got a lot of support from my mother and I am supporting Margherita as well. It is all about positioning yourself and the company. But I am very happy with what we’ve managed to do as a family.  

Where do you place India in terms of global luxury?  

As we grow as a brand, India holds a place of utmost importance. It is one of the countries which understands luxury. People here are educated in craftsmanship and can judge the quality of a product easily. Its embroideries and handlooms are simply the best in the world. 

Anupam Dabral

Sr. Associate Editor

It was while studying fashion journalism at London College of Fashion that Anupam developed a keen interest in the anthropological aspect of the discipline; for him, fashion only makes sense when seen in the context of its environment. He is always on the hunt for great stories, and in his spare time binge-watches films/shows starring Whoopi Goldberg, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

Sign up for our newsletters to have the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every week.

Yes, I agree to the Privacy Policy

Never miss an update

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.

No Thanks
You’re all set

Thank you for your subscription.