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Missoni Girl

Margherita Maccapani Missoni shares her thoughts on an accessory line for Missoni and working for her family’s fashion house

While Missoni’s Autumn Winter 2010 collection may still be based on the traditions of the historical Italian fashion house and on its “put together” principle that made it famous all over the world, the cropped sweaters, jackets and tweed-like shorts matched with ample capes and the body-revealing crochet tops and dresses give it a touch of freshness. Further originality and inventiveness in this collection that retains strong links with Africa and Scotland, especially in the tartan and tribal patterns and blanket coats pinned at one shoulder, are represented by the accessories and in particular by the futuristic and modernist sunglasses and jewellery pieces by Margherita Maccapani Missoni, Angela’s daughter. Interacting with the clothes and complementing Missoni’s aesthetics, the accessories reflect Margherita’s preoccupation with form, function and tangibility. 
Dazed Digital: Did you follow the Autumn Winter catwalk shows and are there any collections you particularly liked?
Margherita Maccapani Missoni: Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see too many shows since, while they were on, we were putting the final touches to our own designs. Among the collections I liked best were Balenciaga and Prada’s.  

DD: Can you tell us more about your accessory line?
Margherita Maccapani Missoni: We always had an accessory line at Missoni, but it somehow never represented our core business, since we are mainly focused on clothing. From this season, though, I have been working on the accessories, designing bags, sunglasses, jewellery pieces and beachwear. My work is developed in tandem with the clothing line: we all collaborate together to create a coherent and cohesive collection and make sure that the accessories complement and complete the clothes.

DD: Some designers conceive accessories as expressions or extension of the wearer’s identity, what do they represent for you? 
Margherita Maccapani Missoni: I think that clothes and accessories define and describe who we are. I can’t see many differences between them, they are indeed a way to introduce ourselves to other people and they help us transmitting a message to others. There may be people who try to imitate art when they get dressed and people who just get dressed to cover themselves up, but I guess that both send out messages and communicate their ideas and feelings through their looks.   

DD: Some of the jewels seen on the Missoni runway had a sort of post-modernist architectural edge about them and created a contrast with the main inspiration behind the clothes, what inspired them?
Margherita Maccapani Missoni: We wanted something modern, smooth, chromed, shiny and a little bit futuristic for the jewels, the shoe stirrups and the sunglass lenses, since the basic idea was trying to create a contrast with the raw and rough materials incorporated in the designs. The collection includes quite a few rather heavy materials and natural colours and to avoid that such designs could become a little bit too ethnic or folkish and that the African and Scottish inspirations became too literal, we opted for metal jewellery. The main inspiration came from an old necklace I had, but, while the latter featured rubber and metal, we went for enamel and metal and developed necklaces, bangles and stirrups. The accessories were also designed to create further contrasts with the double zippers integrated in the clothes that draw graphic glossy lines across the garments.

DD: Your family has an iconic place in the fashion history and industry: how do you feel about working for it?
Margherita Maccapani Missoni: I respect the family I come from and my job. I know I wouldn’t be in the place I am if I hadn’t grown up in this family, but I also know I wouldn’t be able to work for any other fashion house or brand. I genuinely think I can do better than anybody else for the family’s fashion house since I was born into and grew up surrounded by their vision, so I don’t need to adapt my tastes to the Missoni aesthetic, because I have integrated it into my own self since I was a child. My grandmother Rosita, my mother Angela and I have probably got different styles but we have very similar tastes. For example, I don’t find it hard to use colours or wear knits, since it’s something that comes to me naturally. You often meet amazing and talented designers who work for someone else’s fashion house and must adapt their own tastes to somebody else's  aesthetic principles and, even if they share such a vision, they may find it difficult to identify with it.

DD:  What’s the most important lesson you have learnt from your family?
Margherita Maccapani Missoni: My grandparents and my mother Angela taught me everything I know for what regards this industry, but they also taught me to distance myself from the fashion universe. A great passion for our job runs into the family, but we do also know that this is not the most important thing in the world, so we live our lives with lots of irony and detachment, since, after all, it’s just clothes. We work to live better and not the opposite and there’s no point in earning more than you can spend. I guess this approach saved us from making mistakes that have been fatal to other fashion houses or designers.

DD: What are your plans for the immediate future?
Margherita Maccapani Missoni: Apart from working on the accessory line, I still take care of other aspects, so in the last few days I’ve been working in the office, following a photo shoot, focusing on the second line, “M Missoni”, and meeting with stylists and there’s also a trip to Los Angeles on my agenda.