Missoni presents the 2021 collection
Are we still going to be seduced by fleeting trends, or will choose to focus on longer-lasting capsule wardrobes? On the occasion of Milan Fashion Week we talked to Angela Missoni, third-born of Ottavio and Rosita, who has brought the “family affairs” into the new Millennium, boosting and revitalizing a brand which has helped promoting and highlighting Italian fashion worldwide. From a small workshop equipped with only three knitting machines to boutiques all over the world: the Missoni family changed the face of knitwear and helped boost the popularity of loungewear as we know it (and love to wear today.)
Read the interview and watch the video on the FW21 collection, both exclusives to Vogue Italia
How has fashion, and in particular our relationship with the clothes we wear have changed in the last year?
We have to take a step back to consider the bigger picture of fashion; before the 2000s, every decade was defined by precise and identifiable elements and trends; from 2000 to 2019 we have seen the rise of a refreshing expression of the “self” through the mix and match of elements belonging to very different eras, always seeking for a unique and individual look. 2020 not only ushered in a new decade, but also saw a substantial change: the lockdown has profoundly affected our lives, as well as fashion. All the loungewear garments and accessories express a need, that of dressing comfortably, and have now materialized in our closets, in our daily lives.
Let’s talk about loungewear: from tentative appearances to strong trend, which has left a mark on 2020…
Exactly, and Missoni has definitely been ahead of its time. Recently I bumped into this old interview with my father who said, at the time, that in 20 years’ time we would have opted for comfier clothes, in particular tracksuits. And he said so, a man who used to wear them. It was 1983. Comfort is part of Missoni’s DNA, just like of knitwear’s.
We live in dark times. Will we want to pick clothes and wear colors again?
The time will come when we want to wear something new and different. It will be a great boost, it will coincide with a fundamental transition, because it will mean that all that we’re going through now has gone forever. Colors, though, they cannot disappear, they give us the courage to face the future.
The collection you have shown in this short film goes beyond seasons and represents a full wardrobe – spring, summer, fall, winter – designed to last through time. Two aspects emerge, one connected to sustainability, the other to emotional memory …
I have always claimed that Missoni is one of the most sustainable brands, precisely because our garments are made to last. We encompass trends, originality and quality together, and all this enables us to always be “fashionable”, to stay in our wardrobes forever. Our garments are part of the history of the person who chooses and wears them. A kind of “time capsule.”
What is Missoni’s “time capsule”?
The Missoni cardigan is a garment that never goes out of fashion and may last a lifetime. My own, though, is a black trench coat with a white zigzag detail which I was glad to discover Meryl Streep wears, too. The actress has shown to be particularly fond of this outwear piece from Missoni, she has worn it often over a very long time, and styled it in different ways, depending on the occasion, from a press conference to her free time.
What were the challenges posed by this change of format, from the runway show to the short film?
Less adrenaline, without the uncertainty of what may happen on the catwalk: I still remember Gisele Bündchen who kept walking confidently [for the SS2003 show] despite a broken sandal. I am still impressed with her professionalism, with the way she walked so nonchalantly. Producing a short film is something completely different, you shoot for hours and then edit a video that lasts just a few minutes, a kind of content not addressed any longer to insiders only, but that is seen directly by the clients, and appeal to their emotions.
You have just celebrated the 100th anniversary of Ottavio Missoni’s birth. Is there a thought, or something he taught you that helped you get through this difficult time?
My father always had a very precise vision; his history and his life had always been a continuous training for life. This enabled him to seize all the good there is, with an extremely clear mind. I think of the way he would have navigated life in this period: reading the Gazzetta dello Sport, a book, or doing crosswords, sitting in his armchair or probably doing some exercise. With patience, wearing his colorful sweater and jogging pants, he would have said “If there’s a solution, why worry? If there’s no solution, why worry? “