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Revisiting A Fashion Legacy

Revisiting A Fashion Legacy

Margherita Missoni Creates A New M Missoni While Paying Tribute To The Past

Fashion wasn’t a world of glitz and glamour for young Margherita Missoni—it was her everyday life.

“Dresses, models, seamstresses, and fashion shows were my first memories,” says Missoni, who is the creative director of M Missoni, an offshoot of the famed Italian fashion house. Missoni is the granddaughter of Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, the founders of the high-end fashion company known for its iconic knitwear with colorful zigzag patterns. Several of her other family members work for the business, too, including her mother, Angela, who has served as Missoni’s creative director since 1997.

From as early as kindergarten, Missoni, 37, would entertain herself by dressing up dolls, making handbags out of fabric scraps and exploring her mother’s office with her brother and sister, fascinated by the number of pencils, fabrics, and beads.

“It was so much fun to be a child and to express my creativity through drawing and playing dress-up in all of the wonderful and colorful clothes,” Missoni says. At 18 years old, she moved out of her Italian countryside hometown, first to Milan and then to New York. At the same time, she started to be viewed as a representative of her family’s business as her mother began to form Missoni into the renowned fashion company it is today. “I kind of became an ambassador without knowing it,” Missoni says. Missoni modeled and signed a contract with Estée Lauder while pursuing acting dreams in New York, becoming the face of the cosmetic company’s fragrance made with the Missoni brand.

But Missoni soon realized she wasn’t as invested in acting as she had thought, and she wanted to pursue the family business of fashion.

Margherita Missoni is giving a fresh take to the family business through her M Missoni line—with an emphasis on sustainability
Margherita Missoni is giving a fresh take to the family business through her M Missoni line—with an emphasis on sustainability
Margherita Missoni is giving a fresh take to the family business through her M Missoni line—with an emphasis on sustainability
Margherita Missoni is giving a fresh take to the family business through her M Missoni line—with an emphasis on sustainability

“When I moved back to Europe after New York, I realized that acting had been a reaction more than an actual passion,” she says. “I wanted to do something on my own that was different from what my family was doing to understand who I was as a single individual.” Missoni says when she expressed her desire to work in fashion, her mother welcomed her into the creative team.

After leaving the family company in 2015 to work on independent projects, Missoni returned in fall 2018, when she was named the new creative director of M Missoni. She was brought back with the intent to reinvent the fashion house’s younger, more accessible line. When she stepped into her role, Missoni says she had a vision of giving new life to the “disregarded parts” of Missoni’s history. Her approach included reinterpreting old prints that didn’t gain popularity, giving fresh context to designs—like those from the ’80s—that may now be considered “cheesy,” and using the many yarns and textiles that filled the Missoni warehouses.

Missoni says both the Missoni archives and cataloging give her inspiration for her mood boards each season and the overall M Missoni identity.

“I wanted to dust off the overlooked B-side of the Missoni legacy,” she says. Sustainability is also imperative to Missoni. She says it would’ve been “utterly inconceivable” to not consider social responsibility while reimagining the line. While M Missoni is still working toward becoming a fully sustainable brand, Missoni says they are constantly experimenting with recycling, repurposing, and upcycling materials.

“Scarves turn into dresses, leftover yarns into sweaters, and upholstery fabrics from the Missoni Home collection into a capsule outerwear collection,” she says. M Missoni’s first presentation with Margherita Missoni as creative director was in September 2019, and Missoni says it’s been her proudest moment since assuming the role.

She says the “very ambitious” presentation featured models getting on and off a tram moving through Milan, and despite the many variables of traffic, it ran smoothly.

“It was one of the happiest days,” Missoni says.

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