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Missoni & Havaianas' Colourful Waves

We talk to Margherita Missoni about the recent collaboration with Havaianas and her collection for Target, due to be unveiled in September this year

The Missoni fashion house never refrained from collaborating with other designers: the very first collaboration between Rosita Missoni and French designer Emmanuelle Khanh, launched in 1966 with a very successful catwalk show at Milan’s Gerolamo Theatre, left for example an indelible mark in the history of Italian fashion. A new and colourful collaboration has recently hit the shops, a mini-collection designed with Brazilian brand Havaianas that includes two women’s and one unisex flip-flops as well as one pair of women’s espadrilles.

The “Missoni Loves Havaianas” collection – characterised by the Italian fashion house’s iconic zigzag and wave patterns – is currently available on and from Havaianas retailers and Missoni boutiques. Missoni fans will be very busy in the next few months: the next collaboration – a very special collection for Minneapolis-based giant Target that will pass to history as the retailer’s largest collaboration with a fashion house, will be launched in September and will include roughly 400 items, from men, women and children’s collections to home furnishings.

Dazed Digital: How did the collaboration with Havaianas come about?
Margherita Missoni:
We like a lot collaborating with other brands and, in this case, we actually had the idea and got in touch with Havaianas. I do love reworking and reinventing iconic pieces like we did with Converse and there is always a fun factor in such collaborations since you usually come up with a mini-collection, so there is no tension or stress involved like it happens when you’re working on a proper fashion collection.

DD: For the first time Havaianas also did a pair of espadrilles, was this your idea?
They suggested them to us and we liked the idea a lot. We already do espadrilles at Missoni, but they are different since we do them with our own textiles and they are actually very successful. It was wonderful to see them reinvented in this printed version, I think they look really cute. We also worked together on the packaging, a colourful bag in Missoni style that mixes in the colours of the Italian and Brazilian flags. 

DD: Some of the colourful motifs in the “Missoni Loves Havaianas” footwear seem to call to mind the nuances of the S/S 2011 collection, did you take inspiration from it?
Margherita Missoni:
We developed the footwear while we were working on that collection, actually the Havaianas ended up arriving in the shops together with our current fashion collection. There are quite a few designs including beaded motifs in the Spring/Summer collection and originally we had beaded flip-flops in mind, but then we changed idea and opted for colourful prints of our iconic motifs.

DD: Do you feel that these collaborations between historical fashion houses and popular brands have got a certain degree of collectability?
Margherita Missoni:
Definitely. From the point of view of the fashion house these collaborations allow you to reach out to younger generations and to a wider audience as well. Indeed the “Missoni Loves Havaianas” footwear come at an accessible prince, $60-$130. But from the point of view of the consumer, all these collaborations are always special since they allow you to buy for a limited period of time a rare item designed by a famous fashion house. I usually buy other brands when they do these collaborations as I really like them a lot. 

DD: In September you will launch the Missoni for Target collection, can you tell us more about it? What did you learn from this collaboration?
Margherita Missoni:
It’s an Autumn/Winter collection, we have already developed it and we will be shooting an advertising campaign soon. I would define it as a collection that captures Missoni’s essence. Every season we try to give a new direction to our fashion house to make sure it doesn’t stay the same. In this case we tried to do something different, injecting the spirit of our fashion house into each piece. We do have a smaller production, while they do have a huge manufacturing and distribution infrastructure and that allowed us to learn amazing things!

DD: Would you like to launch further collaborations in future?
Margherita Missoni:
I would love it, either with High Street retailers, fashion designers or interior designers. My grandmother Rosita did a lot of collaborations, starting with fashion designer Emmanuelle Khanh and this taught me a lot. In fact, you know what would be really amazing? To come up with story for a magazine in which different fashion houses tried to reinterpret iconic objects from another brand. I guess it would be really fun to see a Chanel bag in a Burberry print!