The name Missoni is inextricably tied to its signature striped and zigzag knits whose colorful patterns evoke an optimistic, haute-hippie-by-way-of-Capri lifestyle. Though it's a global fashion brand, the company, which was founded by Ottavio (known as Tai) and Rosita Missoni in 1953, is still a close-knit—pardon the pun—family-owned affair. (Its Web site lists the sporting accomplishments of a 16-year-old Tai in the company history.) After the label's first showing in Paris in 1967, it was championed by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Thanks to that influential push and the fact that the house's trippy designs dovetailed neatly with the decade's groovy sensibility, the seventies were Missoni's real launching pad.
After a brief stint with her own collection, Angela Missoni took the design reins from her mother in 1997, expanding the range into nonknit items and a younger, sexier look, coinciding with a resurgence in popularity for the brand. In short order, Angela launched the secondary label M Missoni and a range of footwear. Under her direction, the women's line has become a favorite of actresses like Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, and Drew Barrymore, who recently starred in an ad campaign. Brothers Vittorio and Luca also entered the family business: the former as company chairman and the latter as creative director of Missoni Uomo until 2007. (In 2008, Angela took over for Luca, adding the men's line to her portfolio; for Angela, it was a return to menswear after a period designing the collection in the late nineties.) Rosita, meanwhile, focuses her attention on the label's popular Missoni Home collection, which projects its kaleidoscopic vision onto everything from blankets to teacups. Though the Missonis tend to be less press-hungry than some of their Milanese counterparts, Angela's daughter Margherita has become a regular on the international party circuit, acting as brand ambassador. The company recently signed with the Rezidor Hotel Group to widen its lifestyle scope, with Hotel Missonis currently under way in Kuwait and Edinburgh.
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